Christians in love with non-Christians (and their Christian “friends” who object)

Judging-OthersI recently got in this letter:

Hey John,

I am a Christian young woman engaged to a non-Christian. It is not an ideal situation and I have been reading and praying about it a lot.

He is a good man. We have been together since I was 15. I always said I wouldn’t date non-Christians, but he caught me when I was slipping in my faith due to problems with my mum’s mental health. He encouraged me to go back to church and spend time with Christian friends because he knew it would help me.

Throughout our relationship he’s really encouraged me in my faith … But when we announced our engagement I received a few emails from the pastor saying the Bible is clear that the relationship is wrong and that I need to end it.

The advice I need is how to deal with this. I knew that, out of love, I would receive some hostility from Christian friends, but it is getting to the point where I do not want to go back to church, because of the volume of people telling me to end the relationship—when they cannot give me a reason for doing so, other than him being a non-Christian.  . . .  I just am happy with my decision, and believe that it is not a sin and God will bless my marriage and aid me through the difficulties. But I do not know how to handle the simplistic thinking from many members of the church who think that my relationship is wrong—that I should either end it, or be living in sin. Many thanks. God bless.

And this is a reader’s comment recently left on my post Should a Christian Marry a non-Christian?:

I am a Christian woman; I love Jesus and my heart follows Him. I’ve been dating this man for two years now and he prepared me that he’ll be making a proposal soon. I was overwhelmed with joy, laughter, and excitement. A few days have gone by since the excitement and my heart is torn, I feel guilty for even dating a man who doesn’t follow Jesus. The idea of my Christian friends ridiculing me for potentially marrying a no Christian and even worse the idea of disappointing God himself is bumming me out. Something so good, is so bad cause I’ve dedicated my life to Christ and my bf has chosen his own path.

Dear Christians who make a point of letting their Christian friends who are in serious relationships with non-Christians know that they think it’s wrong for a Christian to date or marry a non-Christian:

If I ever meet you, I am going to beat you up.

Oh, wait. No I won’t. Because that’s not the Christian thing to do. It’s wrong to start pounding on someone just because you disapprove of something that they’ve said or done.

“Verily I say unto you: do not vex me, lest I begin soundly thrashing you about your head and ears, you vapid dinkwad” is not something Jesus ever said.

You know what else is not a Christian thing to do (or what shouldn’t be, anyway)? Putting religious dogma ahead of being a friend.

If you know someone who is in a committed relationship of which you do not approve, an excellent question to ask yourself—especially before venturing to offer any opinion on that relationship—is whether or not anyone but you gives a rolled-up church bulletin what you think of that relationship.

More importantly, does anyone actually in that relationship care what you think of it? Have they asked you what you think about it?

If no one in a relationship has asked for your input about their relationship, then why not actually show you’re a Christian, and be quiet about it? (And don’t talk to anyone else about it, either. Offering unsolicited critical opinions of others makes you a toxic gossip, which is one of the lowest things anyone can be. And basing your criticism on some nonexistent rule that you’ve decided is God’s decree makes you a sanctimonious toxic gossip, which, in the descending rings of hell, puts you just above waiters who spit in people’s food, and just below people who don’t clean up after the dog they’re walking.)

And if it’s your opinion that God automatically condemns the Christian who marries a non-Christian, then you’ve clearly tossed out with the baptismal water (your, I’m going to guess, beloved) Paul, who wrote in 1 Corinthians:

For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. … How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

If Paul was okay with Christians being married to non-Christians, perhaps you could find your way to lightening up on the matter.

And that includes you, pastor.

We live in a tough world. If two people have found each other, fallen in love, and are taking good care of each other, then let them be. Let their relationship grow into whatever it might.

Besides, it’s not like both parties being Christian ensures a wonderful marriage. Christian couples get divorced as often as anyone else.

Love is a challenge. Let’s support it when it happens. There are too many people in the world suffering from a lack of love in their lives for us to spend our time fretting over a love that doesn’t exactly match our idea of what love is, or what love should look like. Love is love. Let’s make sure we’re doing all we can to create more of it in the world, not less.

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • justfoxie

    Your letter writers may also be interested to check out a recent post on the same topic over on Rachel Held-Evans’s blog (who is also an awesome Christian, by the way)

    http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/ask-a-mixed-faith-couple-response

  • Jill

    “Judge not…” My non-Christian husband and I have been married for 29 years this year. I work on my faith daily as I go through the trials and tribulations of being a Christian. My husband, who is a man of integrity, honesty, humor, intelligence and, yes, faith, is my soul mate. The fact that he refers to God as the God of Moses has made for some lively discussion around the dinner table. My Jewish in-laws have fully embraced me as one of their own, despite the fact that I follow Jesus, and my mother-in-law has even given me a Hebrew name so she can pray for me easily.

    I did have a friend that “condemned” my marriage as doomed to hell (unless of course I converted my husband). If she is correct, then the years I have spent with this man, loving life, creating and raising three incredible sons, living next to someone who can complete my thoughts in his own head, where a touch is always loving, and we cannot wait to see each other at the end of the day will be worth any time I might spend in hell. My God has blessed me richly with a wonderful marriage, beautiful children, and a life of giving – why would he then send me to hell?

    Love one another as I have loved you…I think that’s how it goes. What else is there?

    • Mindy

      Jill, I respectfully request that you and your beloved spouse each give the other a big hug, from me. Because I admire such a union more than I can tell you. Congratulations on building such a life together!

  • Elizabeth

    Hi John. Fifth para from the bottom, lightening not lightning, although a bolt of the latter might be more effective at changing minds than the former. I needed the positivity today. Thanks.

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

    It blows my mind that the first letter writer’s fiance encouraged her faith, suggested that church would be of a help for her, and supported her in her beliefs, and that same church is discouraging the marriage.

    Seriously. WTF!

    We don’t have to be on the same page in regards to faith to have a wonderful, loving marriage. Even within Christianity itself you are going to find some diverse schools of thought. Trust me. I’m the liberal in my marriage of just over a year. My spouse is my philosophical opposite in that regard. You can also be sure that we’ll be cancelling out each other’s vote on election day for years to come. But it works for us. We have things we don’t have in common, but so many others were we do. Plus we adore each other, we communicate well, we share, laugh, support, listen to, help…all those mundane, boring things that matter.

  • http://creativeliberty.wordpress.com/ Liz @ Creative Liberty

    Wow. Sounds just like the haters who judge same-sex relationships, and basically for the same reasons – “you’re not playing by our rules, and our rules, RULE!”

    Perfect response (minus the fantasy beating), John. Have you ever thought of positioning yourself as the Christian version of Ann Landers?

  • Jason Haddox

    Yay John!

  • Linda Kernohan

    You are one smart cookie, John Shore!

  • mike moore

    John, you had me at “I am going to beat you up.” **

    Dear letter-writer: it sounds like way too many people are getting in your face. Maybe it’s time for a new church.

    (** please don’t tell any of my friends I’m quoting ‘Jerry MaGuire’)

    • n.

      well the great thing about these couples is they complete each other, without religion.

  • Barbara Rice

    I married an agnostic. I can’t say it’s always been easy, but it has made me think seriously about what I believe, what the Bible actually says, and reflect on how it all looks to non-Christians. It’s been very good for me and challenged me tremendously.

    None of my Christian friends said anything – mainly because they know I am a bit thorny about questions that are no one else’s business.

  • Andy

    I also married a non-Christian (basically apathetic), though we had a Christian ceremony. Besides, I vacillate in whether or not I identify as Christian. They’re just labels, anyway. My wife and I have more in common than most couples I know and we agree on almost everything. We have almost no conflict.

    When I first started dating her 11 years ago I was a more conservative and devout Christian, and I had reservations (something about being yoked with non-believers or whatever). I got over it shortly when I realized there were more important things to worry about.

    If someone tells you your relationship won’t be blessed by God because of your different faiths, and your heart tells you otherwise, go with your heart. Life’s too short.

  • http://blueberrypancakesfordinner.wordpress.com Erika

    i married a non-believer. and he has always been nothing but supportive of my faith journey, and i his.

    and i do pray for him every day that he may come to know the Jesus i know.

  • Jill

    Dear letter writer,

    Maybe my only contribution here would be to say that your situation may not sound ideal to your church and pastor, but I would say instead that sharing love is sharing God. Not everyone is so lucky.

    True friends see us for who we are, and support us to live our best lives. I’m sorry that you seem to be facing a crossroads of whether your church’s love for you is unconditional, but you can ultimately only live your life, not the life of serving others’ expectations of you. It sounds like you’ve got confidence in your choice–perfect! The hard part for you seems to be in confusing your church’s judgments against you as love, which it isn’t. It just isn’t.

    If all else fails to bring your friends around, they were ultimately not real friends to begin with. Guaranteed you’ll find people that can handle this.

    Best of luck to you!

  • Melissa

    See Numbers 12 for an example of how God deals with those who interfere in the relationship decisions of others. Miriam was struck with leprosy for chastising Moses for marrying “outside the faith” as you call it.

  • http://peachybee.com Kristen

    This post definitely got my heart racing. I know exactly what is like to be caught between a community of faith, family, friends and the person I love. My boyfriend (and very soon to be fiancee) and I have dated for 6 years. I am a Christian, he is Jewish. For years I was a part of a church that taught that my relationship was sinful and that our relationship (and future marriage) was unholy. The only time I felt negatively about my relationship is when I was told these things. I never agreed with them but in the back of my head I’d question if they were right. They are not. Personally, I realized that anyone who damns my relationship with the person I absolutely love- a man who respects me and cherishes me, is NOT a friend. I left that church. I cut off those friendships. My life has been so much happier since I found new friends and a new church (one that respects interfaith relationships).

    I say all of this to encourage the woman who wrote in to consider if these people are truly her friends. I sincerely doubt it. The woman who wrote in should know there are good, loving people out there who will support and encourage her and her relationship. I encourage her to celebrate her relationship and not to end it. An interfaith marriage represents a beautiful thing- and that is love, peace and happiness exisiting between two faiths (or non-faith). That’s something the world needs more of. The woman who wrote in said she does not know how to respond to these people and their simple minded thinking. Here’s what I do- I let the love between my boyfriend and I simply radiate. The way we treat each other is the ultimate voice that speaks louder than any theological argument. It shows our respect and love we have for each other and that includes our beliefs and ideas. Second, as John touched on, there are plenty of ways to argue against their opinion with theology (and pure logical reasoning) but be warned: they will likely never change their minds. Stay strong and don’t let their opinions cause you to doubt the love you share with your fiancee, who sounds like a wonderful person.

    Thank you John, for writing on this topic. Both my boyfriend and I read your blog and your writing has lead to so many great discussions for years now.

    • Jill

      Kristen, may you and your Jewish boyfriend be blessed with as many happy years as I have had with my Jewish husband – 29 and still going strong!

      • http://peachybee.com Kristen

        That is wonderful! Congratulations & thank you very much!

  • Kathleen Schwab

    I have a friend who stopped dating ‘Christian’ men because they all treated women so badly. All the ‘Christian’ men she dated were mainly interested in getting sex, and not waiting until marriage, or engagement either for that matter. She got so sick of being hit on, that when she met a nice man who didn’t pressure about sex, and they fell in love, she married him. (He is Catholic. Not exactly pagan.) Since then she has suffered guilt over marrying a non-Chrstian. Although before the wedding, they talked over the traditional Christian creeds, and he assured her that of course he believed all those things, and he goes to (Catholic) church every week on top of it. The rub is that he isn’t into praying out loud, doesn’t talk about his intimate emotional relationship with Jesus, like she remembers all those ‘Christian’ guys doing, and she think the relationship might be missing some aspect because of this. After hearing her talk about all this for awhile, I began to wonder if all the ‘let’s hold hands and pray’ stuff my friend had been getting from the ‘Christian’ guys was seduction dressed up for church. I ended up telling her I thought she had done better with her current husband because he was honest with her – he believed in God and wanted to be a good Catholic and have a nice family. And he was in love with her. He wasn’t mixing his feelings for her in with his feelings for Jesus, and throwing a glow over everything that might be about her, might be about God, and who really knows where the line is. I personally think church people, especally Evangelicals get into that sort of hyped up emotional morass.

    • AMA

      I hope I didn’t read this wrong but I thought Catholics were Christians. No need to feel guilty about marrying a non-Christian…she married a Christian.

      • James

        sad to say, a lot of protestant evangelicals in the US don’t believe Catholics are Christian, except when they need more bodies present to help protest a gay wedding or an abortion clinic.

        • Matt

          Catholics not Christian? You mean, the institution that every Protestant denomination ever started from? As a lifelong Lutheran, I have to say…what the [bleep]?

          I mean, I get that the Reformation was a no-holds-barred, no-kidding-people-died war, but I honestly thought we were over the whole childish “You’re worshipping Satan because you pray to the Virgin” thing. Apparently not.

          • Barbara Rice

            I wish we were over it, but I can attest that many Protestant churches – I can think of two in my area right off the bat – teach that Catholics are in league with The Debbil Himself.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

            Sadly the idea that Catholics are not Christian is alive and well. Of course its due to a lack of understanding of the dynamics of the denomination, and ignorance of the fact that the church is responsible for maintaining our bible, many of the traditions which we have adapted to Protestant theology, the beauty of music, art commissioned by that church that we enjoy today.

            Without our elder sister, the church would be so much less than it is today.

          • John E Baker III

            You say that like it’s a bad thing.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

            Imagine a world without the music of Mozart, the art of Michealangelo, the writings of Francis of Assisi, all Catholics. Imagine that the denomination didn’t work as hard as it did to copy and preserve the text from which we have all those translation of the bible. I am Protestant, but am deeply appreciative of what the denomination from which we all came from has contributed throughout history.

          • kathleen schwab

            Christianity was the Catholic church for many centuries, at least in most of Europe. Some of this is just plain provincialism. Christianity spread to many parts of the world starting in the ancient world, but many can only picture American-style protestantism. I personally think it often comes down to sheer lack of education. The Ethiopian Orthodox church dates from the 4th century, and Ethiopia has been Christian as long as Europe – but many in the west simply assume that Christianity was unknown in all of Africa. And yes, many evangelicals think Ethiopian Orthodox are not ‘real’ Christians.

          • PS

            As others have said, unfortunately we Catholics are still considered non-Christians by a number of folks. My husband grew up in a fundamentalist evangelical household where my in-laws and their friends all went on about how Catholics are in a cult, Catholics worship the devil, the Mafia funds the Catholic Church, blah blah blah.

            Then he turned around and married a Catholic convert in a Church ceremony :-D

      • Elizabeth

        Yeah, this is such a common assumption I skipped over it the first time. Even Protestant groups that accept Catholics as nominally Christian think they’re ‘less than’. Worshipping of false idols, etc.

      • kathleen schwab

        When I wrote that she felt guilty about marrying a non-Christian, I was trying to express her feelings. She had been fed a line about being a Christian meant only evangelical/fundamentalsts. I don’t think that. My dad was Catholic and my mom was protestant, so I’ve always been eceumenical. I was trying to make the point (poorly I think) that this well intentioned friend of mine had been so confused by the church that she thought men who made a show of heartfelt prayers and then tried to get her into bed was a Christian because he said all the right christianese stuff – but a man who treated her with respect and beleived everything in the creeds was not a Christian. (If you believe everything in the creeds what else could you be but Christian. All the basic stuff is in there, plus stuff many find superfluous.)

        Anywho – I very much dislike this aspect of the church, getting judgy on who is and is not a Christian. It doesn’t accomplish anything good that i have ever seen. In my friends case, I’m glad she went with her gut and married a decent guy, rather than one who knew how to play the Christian game. She asked me if I thought he was a Christian (I hate it when the church undermines people’s self confidence to this extent.) I said that if he beleives the creeds of course he is. She still was doubtful, so I said that I couldn’t believe that Jesus came here to suffer and die so that he could nitpick with humanity – He came to save as many as possible. (I personally think he may save all of us in the end, as I tend towards Universalism, but that s more a leaning than a complete conviction – I’m not sure what the end of end will entail.)

    • PS

      “Since then she has suffered guilt over marrying a non-Christian.”

      Ahem – Catholics ARE Christians.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

        Yeah, I saw that comment. What an oucher. (Though I believe she meant it in the same way you were talking about how your husband’s family rejected the idea that you, a Catholic, were “Christian.”)

        • kathleen schwab

          Yes, read my further post above. I made a point of saying he believes everything in the traditional creeds.

  • Donald Rappe

    An excellent reason for finding a different congregation. Perhaps the writer can find the one her fiance thought she belonged to.

  • CJ

    I’m a Christian, and my husband is atheist/agnostic, depending on what’s been happening in the news that week. In general my church has been very accepting of this. There was one unfortunate moment when I was making conversation with an elderly lady after services, and the subject of my husband’s faith came up, and she sniffed, “Well you know, there are no atheists in foxholes!” Which in addition to being complete crap for soldiers in general, seemed to imply that my husband’s faith was due a lamentable lack of suffering in his life, and that I needed to send some bullets his way as soon as possible. Other than that, everyone has been great, even when I said that I did not want my baby to be baptized as an infant, because my husband and I would not have been united in the baptismal vows.

    • John E Baker III

      “Well you know, there are no atheists in foxholes!”

      You: “You were in World War ONE?!”

  • The Tom

    I cannot guess how difficult is to translate “vapid dinkwad” into Aramaic…but I’ve a funny feeling someone on here does. Time to start sharing.

  • Marty

    Excuse me while I run off to thank my fellow church members for loving my Pagan husband as much as they love me. (But then, he’s kind of a lovable guy.)

  • Gretchen

    My cousin went to a church from the time she was 7, and then was told she couldn’t get married there because her fiance wasn’t a Christian. My aunt told her to go to the Methodists. Her husband is now a Sunday school teacher and an awesome dad to 3 kids, as well as a pretty great guy anyway. The problem with this sort of nonsense, is that it stops people from SEEING Jesus through the person they love. Yes, for some, the road can be difficult, but the ones that I know who have that difficulty really struggled in legalistic churches and left the church. The fact that you have a fiance who is supportive in the fact that you need God makes him a pretty cool guy.

    I think a lot of people think that many of the “unequally yoked” relationships are about a Christian trying to “save” the other….like a God complex. People need to get over that. It’s one thing if it’s that type of thing, but wholly another when they are just 2 great friends who love each other. Will it be easy? Not when you have a lot of people making it their business, so find people who support you, pray for you, and love you. Somehow we’ve turned this into a club when it should be doors opening to people. Congratulations on your beautiful relationships!!

  • Gary

    What is it about some Christians? I am a Christian, but honestly -and increasingly- I am sometimes embarrassed by the apparent association. Where do folks come up with some of this allegedly Christian intolerance? I mean, seriously, I know of many wonderful passionate and faithful Christians of many different denominations who are kind, loving, understanding and tolerant of people with different faith beliefs and traditions.

    One of my dearest friends at church, someone who I sincerely miss when he is absent, IS JEWISH and married to a Christian. My wife and I have on occasion gone to temple with him and his wife. And we have always felt welcome there. ( You know, he is more fluent in Christian tradition, heck, HE IS MORE CHRISTIAN in his practices than many I know who proudly parade their mindless claim to Christian traditions. (Like packin’ heat.)

    But then, my church congregation is also open and affirming towards others regardless of sexual identity, skin color, wealth, criminal past, and political persuasion. (Although not many conservative republicans seem to want to associate with us heathens.)

    When I had a stroke last winter, I was hospitalized in an “Episcopal” church owned hospital. That large urban hospital hosts a Pastoral Training Program, and the pastoral student who came and visited me regularly through my stay was a Sufi Muslim. She was wonderfully familiar with my own faith traditions and cared for me sincerely compassionately and (this is important here) FAITHFULLY.

    How is it that judgementalness and intolerance so prospers in some congregations and supposedly faithful hearts?

    Just being pissy now: So what’s up when the Catholic Priest at my nephew’s church refuses me communion? (Actually he wouldn’t marry my nephew and his wife until my nephew converted to Catholicism. And prior to the wedding the groom’s parents were warned that they were not to take communion. It seems that their money was good enough though.) I must have missed something in my interpretation of the invitation from Jesus at the last supper. Geez, at MY church we actually serve real bread and real wine, and ALL are welcome at the table. (Curiously there always seems to be enough to go around.)

    I’m just sayin…

  • Brian W

    For many Christians, they believe the Bible is clear on the issue, Christians should not”yoke” with non-Christians (2 Corth 6:14-17):

    “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you”

    While this passage does not specifically mention marriage, it definitely has an application to marriage. The passage clearly says there is no harmony between Christ and Satan (Belial). There can be no spiritual harmony in a marriage between a Christian and a non-Christian. Paul goes on to remind believers that they are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, who inhabits their hearts at salvation . Because of that, they are to be separate from the world—in the world, but not of the world—and nowhere is that more important than in life’s most intimate relationship—marriage.

    The Bible also says, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’ (1 Corinthians 15:33). Having any kind of intimate relationship with an unbeliever can (not necessarily will) turn into something that is a hindrance to your walk with Christ. We are called to evangelize the lost, not be intimate with them. There is nothing wrong with building quality, close and loving friendship with unbelievers, but that is as far as it should go. If you were dating an unbeliever, what would honestly be your first priority, romance or thier salvation? If you married an unbeliever, how would the two of you cultivate a spiritual intimacy in your marriage? How could a quality marriage be built and maintained if you disagree on the most crucial issue in the universe—the Lord Jesus Christ?

    • DR

      An atheist that I was in love with showed me more about living the principles of Christ than any Christian I’ve ever met. You seem to be choosing which parts of this letter to pay attention to but that’s generally what people do when they’ve decided that the Bible offers only one very specific way to live.

      • n.

        yeah that happened to me, too

      • Brian W

        DR,

        I agree, athiests can be very loving, principled and honorable people. But, where do these “good” actions come from? It is no farther than their self-righteous (in and of themselves, they believe they’re “doing right”, hense, self-righteous) relative, rationalistic humanism. It comes from within themselves.

        For a Christian, it comes from above – through the new birth. Christians, by the grace of God, have come to a realization that “all have sinned….there is none that does good….there is none that are righteous…” means them on a very deep, personal and spiritual level. Comparing ourselves with ourselves (or by a human based measuring stick) is unwise. They come face to face with thier “filthy rags of their own righteousness”. We must be honest with God and when we are, we have a clear realization how unrighteous and sinful we really are. NOTE: the secular term “no one is perfect” corresponds to the biblical term “all have sinned”.

        Our heart, our mind and our actions are tainted by sin and only through the new birth can we have victory over sin and live a life pleasing to God. Sure you can love people as far as humanistic love can take you, but godly love starts with God and we must first love God with all our mind, all our heart and all out soul before we can really love our fellow man the way God intended. That is only possible through the indwelling Holy Spirit, in and of ourselves we “fall short of the glory of God”. Simply, we need reconciliation with God and that is only possible through his Son, Jesus Christ.

        “For without faith it is impossible to please him…faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God…..”

        • DR

          You didn’t even respond to a thing I actually said.

          • Brian W

            Sure I did, perhaps not the way you wanted, but I did. The Bible is specific how we are to live.

          • DR

            You talked a lot in your comment. But you did not actually listen or respond to the thought within my comment. You don’t discuss things, Brian. You preach.

    • DR

      (and there are a dozen examples people have offered below of the “spiritual intimacy” they share, perhaps you might consider opening your mind and heart – if what you’ve written is what you actually believe – and hear it. Not exactly a lot of the devil’s work happening in those that have shared their relationships with us).

    • Barbara Rice

      “The Bible is clear on the issue”

      If there’s one thing I know to be true, it’s that the Bible is clear on almost nothing whatsoever.

      • Andy

        This. Many times, this. I look at Brian’s post and think, do you not know many people who aren’t Christian? Because there are plenty of great people in this world who aren’t. And if you do know such people, why would you ever say things like that last paragraph?

        Suggesting that non-Christians are lesser people is, as far as I can surmise, a clear violation of the greatest commandment.

        • DR

          Brian doesn’t really seem willing to engage in any dialogue about his beliefs anymore, he seems to post his thoughts and then disengage. I hope he returns to answer some of these counter replies, those used to be difficult, yet pretty fruitful conversations.

        • Brian W

          Andy,

          Actually most people I know would naturally not be Christians. I will go as far to say that I have a few good friends that are not Christians, but my closest and most dear friends are all Christians (by choice). Though Jesus himself sat with “sinners and publicans for meat” his closest companions were all believers (well except for that scoundrel Judas) with Peter, James and John being his most dear.

          Forgive me if you gleened from my last post that I think Christians are somehow “better” and non-Christians “lesser” people. That is simply unbiblical and not the case. Christians are no “better” than anyone else. I don’t know how you define what a “great” person is, but I suspect it is probably different than how God defines it.

          • Elizabeth

            No, Judas was a believer (a meaningless term, since at this point they were all Jews.) And Mary of Magdala was his most dear, being “uniquely among the followers of Jesus specified by name (though not consistently by any one gospel) as a witness to three key events: Jesus’ crucifixion, his burial, and the discovery of his tomb to be empty.” That’s… a little more than dinner with the thieves and fallen women. You need to make new friends.

          • Brian W

            Liz,

            No, Judas was not a believer, he was the son of perdition, fit for God’s eternal redemptive purpose:

            “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil? Now He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him” (John 6:70-71).

            The devil? Betray him? Not the actions of a believer Liz.

            As to Mary Magdalene, she was a harlot touched and saved by the Master and indeed a faithful follower of Christ, evidence that she was a believer, so no longer a “fallen woman”.

          • Elizabeth

            Mary may have been a harlot; she may have been educated nobility. The historical record is unclear. The Gnostic gospels tend to have a higher opinion. Harlot grabs the Western imagination more. She has three separate feast days in the Eastern tradition for three different guises. Thief or no, Judas was a disciple. Jesus only picked twelve.

            How are we coming along on ‘Bad company corrupts good character’ and ‘The Bible is clear’? Because I know from lo-o-ong experience the subsections of the population who shorten my name to Liz: accountants, math teachers, and dogmatists. Nothing wrong with them, I just know we don’t have the same priorities.

          • Brian W

            The Gnostic gospels are not considered inspired Scripture, so I don’t hold them in same regard as Holy Scripture. It is true that Scripture never labled her a harlot, it is inferred, but not certain. We do know as fact that Mary Magdalene had previously been possessed by demons; watched Jesus’ crucifixion; was the first to see him after his resurrection and was an ardent follower of Christ.

            Judas was a desciple, but not a believer, that was converted by the grace of God, he was the son of perdition. I never denied he wasn’t one of the Twelve, of course he was.

            “Bad company corrupts good character” is clear to me what it means, are you confused or uncertain what that means, especially in light of the entire Bible that has many verses regarding the influence bad people can have on you? Compare Scripture with Scripture, I’m sure that will help you better understand the Bible.

            If Liz offends you, accept my apologies Elizabeth, every Elizabeth I know has no problem with the shorter “Liz”, it was wrong of me to assume it was the same for you.

            I’m none of the subsection of the population you profiled me as.

          • DR

            Catholics have additional books of the Bible that Protestants don’t consider “holy” either. Thankfully, you don’t have the last word on what is Holy Scripture and what is not, I believe the Holy Spirit has that last authority and to the benefit of many, works quite beautifully around your parameters of what is Christian and what is not.

          • Matt

            Incidentally, that disagreement is what broke me free of Biblical literalism for good. If we can’t even agree on how many books make up the Bible, how can we possibly say that it’s the literally inspired word of God and perfect in every aspect?

          • Brian W

            Agreed, but there are books of the Bible that all Christians believe are Cannon. Catholics believe there are more than what Protastants believe, but not less. The least amount of writings that all Christians agree as Holy Scripture is contained in the 66 books we call the Bible.

          • DR

            The point, Brian, is you just identified what “holy” is and I’m quite certain you wouldn’t consider the additional Catholic holy scriptures to be in that category.

          • Brian W

            DR,

            That would be correct.

          • DR

            I’m correct about what, exactly? That you’d not identify the additional books in Scripture Catholics include as “holy”? If so then welch to what almost everyone on this forum has been trying to show you about yourself for years.

          • Elizabeth

            Hi Brian! I’m still on the Tarmac and typing left-handed. Forgive my brevity. You mean the Magdalene’s tawdry past was implied not inferred. That’s not nitpicking. In this case, it’s a telling difference. You infer meaning; I infer meaning; a third-grader infers meaning. None of us can know what the writers much less the redactors meant to imply. Several separate stories in the Gospels are suspected to be Mary, not always by name.

            My point with “Bad company corrupts good character” was even simpler. If it were true, it would have been poor judgment for Jesus to expose his ‘good’ disciples to a devil and a whore, not to mention the unsuspecting masses. We follow Christ’s example; you just called Him a corrupter.

            And I don’t mind Liz. I merely find it instructive, Bribri. Off to Sin City. I see you’re in good hands.

          • Allie

            The tradition that Mary of Magdala was a harlot is not based on anything in the Bible. She was no such thing; she is the woman who was cleansed of seven demons. Nowhere in the several mentions of her in the Bible is it even suggested she ever did anything unpleasant.

            The harlot tradition conveniently played into the Gnostic beliefs of a female figure who was wisdom exiled on earth as a harlot.

          • Brian W

            You are correct, there is no firm biblical proof that she was a harlot. She was possessed by 7 demons, so safe to say, she probably wasn’t a woman you would want to take home to meet your parents. One demon is bad enough, but 7 – yikes!!

          • DR

            Peter betrayed Jesus not just once, but three times. True believers reject Jesus constantly, several hundred times a day. There are christians in jail for murder. christian drug addicts and adulterers, christians who run huge empires and manipulate people oit of what little money they have. To suggest that you or I or anyone k ows their true devotion or that we know the state of Judas’s ultimate devotion to Jesus is shocking. You don’t know and I suspect the greatest fear of your life is uncertainty.

          • Brian W

            Peter didn’t betray Jesus, he denied him. The Bible tells us about Judas’ heart and his fate. I dont need some insight to his devotion, the Bible tells us he was the son of perdition. He was never a converted believer. He sure played the part well, no one suspected Judas as the traitor. Just because someone claims they’re a Christian, it doesn’t mean they are, you know them by their fruits, do you get figs from thistles?

          • DR

            The game of semantics you’re playing is something you can certainly do if that’s your choice.

          • Andy

            I have no idea how I would define a “great” person either, but I don’t think it matters. As we don’t know the mind of God, we can really only consider people good and bad by human standards. And by those standards I know tons of great people that aren’t Christian. Plenty of them have been happily married for years, and have much more successful marriages (again with the nebulous definition) than some Christians I know. In fact, of divorced people I know, more of them are Christian than not. I suppose that proves only that not all marriages between Christians work, but still, it’s something.

            I think it’s great if loving Christians have a lifelong, successful marriage. But it certainly doesn’t happen to all of them, and it happens to a lot of people who aren’t Christian. To suggest that only a marriage between Christians can work, and that one between a Christian and a non-Christian — or two non-Christians — cannot, is just ludicrous.

          • Brian W

            Andy I whole heartedly agree with you, just because you’re a Christian it doesn’t make you immune to a bad marriage and divorce, any more than being an atheist means your marriage will be doomed, nor does it mean that a “mixed marriage” between a believer and non-believer can not be “successful”, they indeed can. Marriage takes work, no matter who you are or what you believe. Paul gave a stern warning that it is dangerous to “yoke” with unbelievers, like in a marriage. That by no means is a statement that it can’t work, it most certainly can.

          • Andy

            “How could a quality marriage be built and maintained if you disagree on the most crucial issue in the universe—the Lord Jesus Christ?”

            That doesn’t sound like you think marriages between Christians and non-Christians can work. Unless you were genuinely asking that question, and I didn’t infer from the context that you were.

            Speaking of context, Paul said that to the Corinthians of 2 millenniums ago. He didn’t say that to us. Not everything he said to his direct audiences is relevant to us today. I’m not sure if this is one of those things or not, but still.

          • DR

            Despite a dozen testimonies here of marriages like this working, Brian, Dallas and others who insist on believing a specific way just choose to gloss over the actual “fruit” that our commenters are offering while at the same time, they tell us that the fruit of our choices determines what is Godly and what is not. So it’s very difficult to keep track of when fruit counts and when it doesn’t.

          • Brian W

            “Mixed” marriages can work, since there are posts on here claiming they have. Paul gave a stern warning that it can be problematic, so since the warning is so strong, I took his advice and “yoked up” with a Christian woman.

            Though no Pauline epistle was written to us, it doesn’t mean they weren’t written for us. There are indeed timeless spiritual truths contained in them. God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

          • Andy

            How is the warning about unequal yoking more stern than the one about women remaining silent, a suggestion that’s never observed today by most people?

            Sure, there are some timeless truths in the epistles. But there were also some things he said specifically to the audience of each one. Unfortunately, he didn’t denote which ones were for them only and which should be observed for all eternity.

      • Brian W

        Barb,

        You may be the exception, but whenever I hear or read a statement like yours, it is generally from an unbelieving, non-Christian, if that is your case, well then of course the Bible “is clear on nothing whatsoever”.

        • Barbara Rice

          Brian, I am a Christian, but I am not your type of Christian. I feel safe in saying the majority of posters here are not your type of Christian either.

          • Brian W

            Barb,

            “My type”, can you please elaborate? Also can you please explain how a Christian can profess being a Christian while claiming the Bible is “clear on nothing whatsoever”, if so, how can you clearly be a Christian if its not clear how? Sorry, I’m not the smartest cookie in the cookie jar and it takes time for me to grasp idea’s and thoughts on here. Please be patient, that’s all I ask.

          • Barbara Rice

            Brian,

            What I said was “the Bible is clear on almost nothing whatsoever.”

            If you look around here, you will meet numerous people who have come from many church backgrounds (or none) and were told many different interpretations of the Bible, each one absolutely certain that THEIRS was the ONLY true way of reading it, and anyone who disagreed was certainly a lost lamb, if not a complete infidel.

            It appears you are certain your interpretation is the correct one, to which I say more power to you. If God has revealed it to you in a way you grasp, that’s great. But there are many ways that God reveals to people, and I do not believe that one size fits all. Nor do I believe “you can’t be a Christian if —-” (fill in the spaces with the issue du jour).

            We’re here on this site to exchange experiences, not demand that others see God through our eyes.

          • Brian W

            Barb,

            I stand corrected thanks. I am by no means certain that my hermeneutic is the ONLY way. But most Scrpture is pretty simple to understand (like 2 Cor), you don’t need a seminary degree and be fluent in Biblical languages to undersatnd it. Biblical hermeneutics is the art and science of biblical interpretation and I agree, it is not an exact science (like say mathematics). None the less, Christians are of one accord on the core essentials of the faith.

          • Barbara Rice

            “None the less, Christians are of one accord on the core essentials of the faith.”

            No, they’re not.

            If most scripture was “pretty simple” to understand, we would not have multiple Christian-based religions arguing over minute points as though they were the entire fulcrum on which their faith rests. Scripture is open to endless interpretations as seen through language translations, cultural differences, the politics and culture of the time it was written as well as the author’s personality and personal convictions.

          • Elizabeth

            As demonstrated above, a passing familiarity with a seminarian or someone who studied a Biblical language at least means you don’t type stuff like “Christians are of one accord.”

          • Brian W

            Liz

            Acts 2:1 says: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”

            Its not that every Christian on earth was there, but every Christian that was there, was of one accord.

          • Andy

            “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”

            Was that place a Honda dealership?

          • Brian W

            Andy – good one!!

          • Brian W

            Barb,

            I guess we can agree to disagree. I believe there are essential core beliefs a person must have in order to be a Christian, if not then you’re not a Christian. There are some “non-essential” points that Christians may differ on, but the essentials, nope, not buying it. For example, the Diety of Christ is an essential core belief. If you don’t hold to Jesus’ Diety, you’re not a Christian.

            Biblical hermeneutics (interpretation), is precisely what you alluded to: what does the text say, what does the text mean (in its original language) in its historical, cultural and political context utilizing the authors personality. When it is approached in a “scientific” manner, there are are not “endless” interpretations. It’s not an exact science, that’s why there are different beliefs on “minute points”.

          • Andy

            It’s “deity”, and Jehovah’s Witnesses would disagree with your assertion that they must hold that tenet.

          • Brian W

            Andy,

            Sorry for the spelling, as for JW’s, they’re not Christians, so of course they disagree with the deity of Christ, just like Mormons aren’t Christians. Now, they can both be fine, loving and outstanding people, they’re just not Christians, that’s all.

          • DR

            The sinless state of Mary, the Virgin Mother of God is considered by millions in the world to be an “essential” doctrine of faith as a result of scriptural interpretstion. If you do not agree with this, you’re going to hell. Do you believe this essential doctrine? Concerned about your salvation.

          • Andy

            Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons both will tell you they’re Christians. You won’t convince them otherwise.

            Besides, why do you care? Christian is just a word. Unless you think all non-Christians go to hell, in which case it suddenly becomes important. But that’s not a very popular opinion around here.

          • Brian W

            DR,

            Even Catholics don’t claim the sinlessness of Mary, her Immaculate Conception and Assumption are “essential core beliefs” of Christianity. The virgin birth however, is essential.

          • Brian W

            Andy, you’re right I really don’t care what the JW’s and Mormons think or their false claim that “they’re Christians” (heretics is more like it). I do not believe that all non-Christians go to hell. I know what you mean about opinions around here, it’s basically agree with John and the most frequent posters on here and then you’re ok. If you’re a Christian that believes even just a little different than most on here, you’re labelled as a narrow minded, bigoted, “toxic” Christian and are not very tolerated either.

          • DR

            Brian, being a Catholic I can assure you that the Immaculate Conception is indeed, a core essential tenant of faith and is considered as such given Mary to Catholics plays a very, very important role. if you review the catechism thoroughly you will see that’s the case. Do you embrace it? Yes or no?

          • Elizabeth

            Oh Bribri. You’ve been not only tolerated but encouraged on this thread. And you’re still using the word heretic.

          • Barbara Rice

            Brian, Brian, Brian. (I can call you that, right?)

            I think you’re totally missing the point. It’s not at all that you “have” to agree with John & most posters. It is that this is a safe place for people who have been burned by dogmatic Christians, toxic Christianity, fundies, and narrow approaches to scriptural interpretation.

            If a poster insists that their way is the only way – say, if they insist that JWs and Mormons are heretics – then maybe they’d feel better in a place that is safe for them and bounces back what they want to hear, rather than a place with diverse opinions, a place who will take you to the mat when they suspect that maybe you’re just here to argue and then stomp off when no one buys it.

            I could be wrong, though. (Which is a great phrase!)

          • Andy

            Brian, “Christian” is just a word. As I understand it, it denotes a follower of the one most people refer to when using the term “Christ”. Is there more to it than that?

            The word “Christian” appears only a few times in the bible. I don’t believe any verse in the bible defines the term and gives the criteria that must be met for one to be labeled as one. There’s no authority that certifies someone as a Christian. You don’t get a diploma or anything when you become one.

            So if someone calls himself or herself a Christian, who are you to say he or she isn’t?

          • DR

            Brian, the sinless state of Mary as a result of the Grace of Immaculate Conception is considered by millions in the world to be an “essential” doctrine of faith as a result of scriptural interpretstion. If you do not agree with this, you’re going to hell. Do you believe this essential doctrine? I’m concerned about your salvation and as a Christian, believe it’s my obligation to warn you to embrace this doctrine as your sister in Christ.

          • DR

            Brian, why do you think people experience you as preaching to them instead of simply sharing experiences together? Are you aware that others are reacting to you this way pretty consistently? I’m curious if you give that any thought and if so, why you think others respond to you with the belief that you actually are quite exclusive in your belief that “one is only a Christian if they do and ___________ this way”.

    • Jim North of Seattle

      Proof texts! Oh good! I love those things! Sorry, had to get that out of my system first, and sarcams seldom translates well to print in my experience.

      Now, on to some general “biblical” principles. The entire Scripture is a continuing story of our struggle with loss and turning away, and God’s redemption of us through God’s abundant love, demonstrated by the life, death, resurrection and ascendance of Jesus. This is the foundation of our faith, and the story the Christian Bible tells. At no time did God say, “here are detailed instructions on living your life”. The closest we come to that is Paul’s assertion of the use and inspiration of Scripture in 2 Timothy, which in its context is not a proof text. I know you won’t accept this on my short statement, especially since I started out with sarcasm. That’s okay, but let me suggest you meditate on that and seek out thinkers like N.T. Wright. Not that you will…oops, there I go again.

      Sigh. Forgive me.

      On to something a little closer to the point of the letters. Note that, while not claiming Christianity (perhaps because of “Chri….” Nope, don’t go there, Jim.) The first woman’s young man not only supports but encourages her spiritual life and journey. He’s there for her 100%. Contrast this with the condemnatory response of her friends and pastor, who, without knowing this guy, assume that she is imperiling her soul at best, or cohabiting with the Devil at worst. I also contrast this with your automatic assumption that this gentle man, who has encouraged the woman he loves is a “bad character”. Granted, this is based solely on her testimony, but I think I can see who is the Samaritan, who is the Pharisee, and who is the priest on this road.

      In the second case, here is a woman who, without even “going public” already feels condemned and hopeless because of her friends worldview. She loves this guy, who does not happen to proclaim to be a christian. Because of what her friends *might* think about this relationship, she is ready to place herself on a pagan altar, dressed with drapings of Christendom. Explain again how that honor’s the Great Love God has shown us?

      Since you are so interested in proof texts, John here has given you a perfect one that balances the “be ye not…” you quoted. You may as well have used the KJV here. You do not know, and cannot know the heart of this man whom you have never met. You cannot know these women by the scant words she has written. Nor can I. And yet, I see more love on the part of the young man in the first letter, and far more to fear on behalf of the second writer, than you have demonstrated with whip of words and scourge of sanctimony.

      I confess this, I am allowing myself to become outraged on behalf of these two people, and I hold that against you, Brian. I hold your Greco-Roman, mechanistic, rule-bound view of Christianity against you, which is certainly your privilege to hold. In as much as my attitude toward what I consider an deficient view of Christianity has led me astray I ask forgiveness of everyone in this community.

      In all seriousness, I suggest, Brian, that you consider and re-consider your viewpoint in light of the whole bible, and not a handful of check-the-box proof texts.

      • Brian W

        John,

        Nice post. I made no reference to the young man’s character or how supportive he may be of her Christianity. Clearly, he must be a good guy to the letter writer or she would not have fallen in love with him and want to marry him. I’m in no way condeming her. All I was trying to do is remind her what the Bible says about such unions with unbelievers, it can be dangerous spiritually. From a human standpoint, he can be a “great guy” but as Christians the spiritual condition of the person you want to marry is even more important.

        I was converted in my early 20′s (not married) and after I became a Christian, my “#1 on my list for a wife” was that she was a Christian. For me that was not a point of discussion. I suppose I could have dated an unbeliever and “won her to the Lord”, but I wanted a wife that was already a Christian – selfish I guess.

        John, we live in a society of “rules” and “laws” (even God’s created universe has “laws”), so does Christianity and that somehow rubs you the wrong way? Man’s laws and rules are OK, but God’s are not? The fact of the matter is, we are all bound by God’s spiritual laws, regardless if you believe them or not.

        Biblical Christianity liberates the the sin bound soul, not the other way around. Christianity is true liberty.

        • Jim North of Seattle

          I’m not sure if you’re replying to me, John Shore, or somebody else. Usually people confuse me with Bill, whoever he is, so this is a first; and I think I am honored that you confuse me with our host. Or not…still not sure.

          A day has passed, in which I’ve become older and in theory wiser, or perhaps just more of a curmudgeon. On the assumption (always dangerous) that you meant to address Jim North of Seattle, I will tackle your response and redirect with my own.

          Your words that you may have meant as a caution are easily read as a condemnation. For example, in paragraph three you say;

          The passage clearly says there is no harmony between Christ and Satan (Belial). There can be no spiritual harmony in a marriage between a Christian and a non-Christian.

          This statement, and using this “proof text”, very directly draws the line between the actions of the compassionate young man of case one and a great evil. By leaving her no wiggle room in your argument, you have also left yourself no wiggle room.

          The distraught young woman, on reading your words acts in one of two ways: she become angry at your (to her) callous comments on a man you know nothing about in a situation where you, Brian, don’t even have half the story–only an excerpt from a letter. Or, if her emotions bend in another direction, she despairs of her decision, perhaps even her life, and becomes a client of Lifeline, the national suicide prevention hot line. I pray not.

          We are unlikely to learn the outcome, however variations on the two scenarios above are more likely responses to your “advice” than a rational, “Why, he’s right! I’ll just tell Joe to take a hike and wait ever so patiently for the Right Man to appear.” I base this opinion on more than thirty years of observation, education and providing counsel to several dozen real people over the past thirty or so years, in venues across the world.

          As has been mentioned repeatedly, you, Brian, do not know whether their relationship is God’s instrument to bring the guy into a relationship with Himself. And yet you would argue her out of it, which potentially puts her outside God’s will and the motivation of the Spirit. We. Don’t. Know.

          Now, you seem to allude that John/Jim/Bill/Elizabeth/Everyone who engages in conversation with you is proposing a life without rules. That is as incorrect as the assumption that Paul’s letters have always been deemed scripture from the day the scribe set them to paper–a fallacy, by the way. Anyway, that is not so. We follow God’s rule to the best of our ability through our faith in Christ and study of His words, deeds, life, death, resurrection, after life and ascension. He did make that much simple.

          Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.” Mark 12:29-31

          The letters of Paul are among those accepted by the Western (Roman) Church as canonical, ever since Iranaeus. However, when we start piecing them out, without understanding the cultural context in which they were written, we get ourselves into trouble. Paul was writing to the Church in Corinth, which was experiencing problems with the budding orthodoxy on the one hand and running up against one of the largest populations of Pharisaic Jews on the other. The problems in the orthodoxy were as much rooted in excess and needed stern correction–or so Paul believed.

          Let us rather look at the letter to the Romans who faced the problem from the perspective of Gentiles who knew nothing of Judaism. Paul carefully walks them through a progression of thought culminating in the concept that there is no way to fulfill the requirements of the Law except through Christ.

          So, it is not that I don’t believe in God’s rules. However, I have learned, to my pain, that it is a mistake to think that a legalistic application of “proof texts”, as borne out in American “Conservative” Christianity of the past nearly two hundred years, is a sure road to salvation and bringing God’s Kingdom. Again, I encourage you to read authors like Marcus Borg, N.T. Wright or Brian McLaren, if only to understand where some of us odd ducks are coming from. You might also consider brushing up on Church history, reading more than one point of view. You may find it refreshing; inspiring, even.

  • Robert

    I read this awhile ago… thought it was interesting…

    “The Barna Research Group, an evangelical Christian organization that does surveys and research to better understand what Christians believe and how they behave, studied divorce rates in America in 1999 and found surprising evidence that divorce is far lower among atheists than among conservative Christians – exactly the opposite of what they were probably expecting.

    11% of all American adults are divorced

    25% of all American adults have had at least one divorce

    27% of born-again Christians have had at least one divorce

    24% of all non-born-again Christians have been divorced

    21% of atheists have been divorced

    21% of Catholics and Lutherans have been divorced

    24% of Mormons have been divorced

    25% of mainstream Protestants have been divorced

    29% of Baptists have been divorced

    24% of nondenominational, independent Protestants have been divorced

    27% of people in the South and Midwest have been divorced

    26% of people in the West have been divorced

    19% of people in the Northwest and Northeast have been divorced

    http://atheism.about.com/od/atheistfamiliesmarriage/a/AtheistsDivorce.htm

    • DR

      Interesting – how does this correspond with overall population rates in the US, do you know?

    • Elizabeth

      Does my atheist dad throw off these statistics at three times. Also, atheists are less likely to get married and, when married, less likely to do it young–especially compared to Baptists or people in more rural areas of the South or Midwest. It is interesting; the survey’s just not designed well enough for correlation to prove causation.

      • Elizabeth

        To be fair, he wasn’t an atheist the first time: exactly the sort of human discrepancy surveys should attempt to quantify.

    • kathleen schwab

      I think some of this is explained by the pressure to marry in Christian circles. More people pushed into marriage wll equal more divorces, there is no way around it.

      • Brian W

        So true…

  • n.

    i think if the partner were abusive (regardless of religion) and friends knew it, then it would be ok to be nosy.

    but if he’s a good guy and he treats her right, then all the other stuff shouldn’t matter.

    i married a nonbeliever and it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

    sometimes i think God sent him to wake me up. he’s a better christian (in terms of doing good things and being patient and general beatitude virtues) than anybody in my hyper-religious family ever was.

  • Karen

    Another home run John! I’d only like to add one thing… no one knows our hearts but God. I sometimes wonder if the labels we give each other are what God sees.

    • Anne

      I agree Karen, Isn’t it more important “as he is in his heart, so is he” a better “rule of thumb” than a label attached to someone. So are we all defined and matched by our labels (names) ie.”Christian” instead of our names, with its biblical meaning (nature) which I reckon God would be more interested in.

  • Lisa

    When you quoted 1 Cor 7:14, I believe it was taken out of context. The previous verses instruct those already married to unbelievers not to divorce their spouse, and then that their spouse undergoes sanctification from living with a believer in 14. The passage does not say it is right for a Christian to marry an unbeliever. In fact 2 Corinthians 6:14, also Paul speaking, tells Christians not to be yoked together with unbelievers. I’m absolutely not saying fruit can’t come out of a marriage between an unbeliever and a believer, or that God abandons those that make wrong decisions. God loves works in the lives of all of us who make small mistakes every day and huge mistakes in life! However, the Bible instructs Christians to hold each other accountable for these things (Galations 6:1-5, Luke 17:3, James 5:16).

    • Elizabeth

      Oh, I’m waiting to pick up my suitcase for Vegas, so let me take a swing at the Biblical cherrypicking. I’m using the NIV; speak up if you want another version. Galatians: “If someone is caught in a sin” presupposes love is a sin. “But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted [to commit one]” could just as easily apply to the hypocrisy of assuming anyone is accountable to you. “If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves”, and “Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load” read like sound arguments for keeping your mouth shut and your hands off.

      Luke: “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them.” In what way is a relationship any sin against you or anyone else? James: “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Again, with no confession and no request for prayer, no dice.

      • Jim North of Seattle

        Yay Elizabeth!

    • DR

      And we all know how good Christians are when it comes to minding any verse that has anything to do with divorce and remarriage!

      It’s so shocking to me to see those of you claim that these verses are “taken out of context” as you willfully ignore how most – if not all – evangelical Christians completely ignore the verses about divorce and remarriage. Ugh.

  • Jim North of Seattle

    What a great, compassionate response, John. In my opinion, you got this spot on. I hope the young couple in the first case is encouraged, and that she seeks a more affirming church community with whom to worship. As for the second young woman, I pray seeks guidance from folk like you who are closer to home, and also finds a place to worship that is less bent on “Thou shalt nots…” and spend more time discerning the love and grace that God has given us.

  • Matt

    “I knew that, out of love, I would receive some hostility from Christian friends…”

    Letter writer, I’m really struggling with the idea that love would produce hostility. Honestly, that’s scary. I think you need some new friends.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      yeah, that’s the line that really jumped out at me too, matt.

  • Remy Schrader

    When you state “Paul was okay with Christians marrying non-Christians.” Sorry, that’s just not so. At all. And its written right there in the same chapter.

    Paul explicitly states who he is talking to in v10: “Now to the married I command…”

    He already spoke to everyone else before that in v8-9: “But I say to the unmarried and to the widows…”

    Paul’s being intentionally unambiguous here. He even goes so far as to state when what he is saying is a commandment from Jesus and when it’s his own opinion. Hey, celibacy’s not for everyone — even Paul recognized that!

    The verse you cite is Paul talking to married people. Specifically a married person who’s conversion to the Gospel occurs AFTER entering marriage but BEFORE their spouse converts (if ever). 1 Cor 7: 14-16 is a firm “No” to the idea that faith in Christ should be motivation for leaving one’s spouse; but also a firm affirmation that if a spouse was abandoned by their partner, they’re not to be blamed and held accountable for what they were not responsible for.

    John, it’s disappointing to see you applying a specific scripture to a group of people it isn’t intended for… especially since your usually so good at calling people out for doing that very thing.

    • DR

      We have absolutely no idea who Paul was speaking to, to assume some kind of certainty that we *know* is kind of crazy.

      • Brian W

        DR,

        Remy is right, do you have another biblically supported interpretation of the passsage?

        • DR

          1 John

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Remy: Well, here’s that whole pertinent chunk of the text in question, with the parts I used bolded:

      Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

      To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

      To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

      But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

      I’m slow, but not so slow I don’t make sure I read all of the text I’m excerpting to make a point.

      I have no idea how you arrived at the interpretation of these words that you apparent have. I stand by what I said, and see nothing here that contradicts it.

      • Remy Schrader

        Hey John,

        Thanks for responding to my comment. I appreciate it. Sorry for the use of all caps coming up but I don’t know how to bold in the comments section — I’m slow too some times.

        Again, what I’m contending is your statement that “Paul was okay with Christians MARRYING non-Christians.” As I read the passage, it seems very clear that Paul is calling believers to REMAIN MARRIED to unbelievers, not go out and GET MARRIED to unbelievers.

        The wrinkle is that nearly all women throughout human history didn’t have a voice in choosing who their spouse would be or when they would be married, including those in the time and place who Paul was originally writing too. So say a young Corinthian woman comes to faith, but then Dear old patriarch Dad marries her off to an unbelieving spouse to secure a dowry or alliance of families… it’s very likely that was a common situation in this church community. Given the cultural status of women as property at the time, I think the sections you bolded are more likely addressing that kind of situation.

        It’s the theme running through the whole chapter. What do you do when you’ve received spiritual freedom through faith in Christ, but you still face physical oppression through cultural authorities via slavery and marriage?

        Paul’s answer goes all the way back to Jesus’ sermon of “going the extra mile.” Whether you are a Jewish man compelled to labor for your military occupiers as an act of humiliation, or a Corinthian woman who’s degraded to a commodity when her sexual value is traded through marriage (or worse – Corinth would make Las Vegas blush), Jesus answer is not resentment and resistance, but joy and service. To CHOOSE to Love those who, according to how the world values relationships, are Unloveable. Christ’s message is that EVERYONE is lovable — including me. And that’s how and why He does Love me. And that’s why I pass that on to everyone. That’s how a Roman executor can come to confess that “Surely this was the Son of God,” and how an “unbelieving [spouse] has been sanctified.”

        Sorry, I need to get back to work, so I can’t fully communicate this idea right now. But before I go, just one last thought for the room: what I’ve written here is meant to understand a specific culture, one where women didn’t have the option of leaving an abusive relationship. It’s not in any way saying women (or anyone) today should remain in abusive relationships. We have freedoms most people never did, and we should use them to be free and to be loved, not harmed. As Paul also wrote, “do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

        ~r

        • DR

          It’s crazy to me that you have the opportunity of reading a number of testimonies below where the quote of Paul you used is clearly demonstrated, yet you’re arguing against the edification of these marriages.

  • DR

    I know dozens of women who married “Christian” men who were controlled, manipulated – even raped – by these “Godly” men and it took them years to get out of the relationships because of the crazy fear driven by the “You should not be unequally yoke” bullshit.

    Our hearts and minds were designed in the beautiful and holy image of God. It’s so rare to encounter men and women who are truly, truly pursuing the love and truth of Jesus (even if they are not doing it in His name). Trust your instincts, letter writer, keep things really focused and simple, get new friends and expand this amazing love that you have. Enjoy it. It’s a blessing and gift from the Lord. Much love and peace to you both!

    • DR

      (sorry, women – not men)

  • chewa11

    I agree with the idea of not sticking your nose into another couple’s business. It’s their relationship between two consenting adults, and they will sort it out.

    I think the verse on not being unequally yoked is just being realistic. But I don’t think it’s “Christian VS Not Christian”, but rather “Practising a Faith VS Not Praising a Faith”. If faith and spirituality was very important to one spouse, and not important at all to another spouse, it would be really difficult to agree on how important religion should be in the family. Which, would probably cause the more spiritual spouse quite a bit of pain. If one spouse was Christian, but didn’t really consider church or discussion/reflection of spirituality to be very important, then a marriage with an atheist could probably work. Because from a practical stand point, the Christian is acting as if (s)he was an atheist/agnostic.

  • Jen Machajewski

    I lived this for a period of time (serious boyfriend high school and college). The pain of betrayal and judgement and arrogance pushed me away from the church I’d grown up in my entire childhood. I still can’t believe their ignorance; I did have one adult in the ministry apologize after condemning the relationship.

    All I can think of is something in regards to judging a tree by its fruit. (I stink at bible verses.) A marriage that brings faithfulness, stability, love, healthy and loved children is certainly preferable over a one that is full of distrust, abuse, hostility and divorce, regardless of which marriage contains same-faith (or same-sex for that matter).

  • David Barrett

    Being in a relationship with a non-Christian should be something that your church supports you in, your relationship may bring your partner that much closer to God. What won’t bring your partner any closer to God is judgmental attitudes and specious arguments based on assumptions rather than scripture. Do they never consider that maybe God wants you to be with your non-believing partner?

  • Maria Christensen

    When I started dating my husband, who is not a Christian, a wife of one of the pastors in my church told me that I would have to choose – I guess between love and the church? I don’t go to that church much anymore and when I do most seem surprized I’m still a believer. I don’t really understand that way of thinking – I’ve always thought be a Christian was about having a personal relationship with Christ. Don’t know how other people come into that equation..

    • yessor

      a believer in what? Doing it your way?

  • Leann Mitchell

    I’m with a person who isn’t a Christian and I don’t care what anyone says about it. I believe God supports our relationship as I speak to him often. I don’t care what anyone says about that either. My relationship with God is personal and it is MY relationship with him. Close-minded, judgemental opinions not welcome. Only God has the right to judge.

  • Bianca May

    Neither my husband or I were Christian when we got married. I became Christian a few years after that. He surprised me by going to church with me after 8 years of marriage & we’ve been going together ever since Point is, I dont think it matters if youre with a non-Christian, as long as youre a good example to them of what you believe.

  • James Norman

    Some Christians who have married non-Christians have found themselves further and further from God. Jut giving an alternative viewpoint.

    • Barbara Rice

      In whose eyes?

      As soon as a Christian begins to question their church and what they’ve been taught, their church tells them their walk with God is suffering.

      Only God knows the heart.

  • Barbara Farley

    I was fascinated by the concept of being unequally yoked. When I attempted to discuss this at my last very fundamentalist church I used myself as the example. I was the non practicing heathen and my husband was the very practicing Catholic. By their standards he should not have married me. Of course they did not believe Catholics were “saved” so apparently we were equal.

  • Andrew Davis

    I had a “Christian” tell me my marriage was illegitimate because my wife was not Christian (in his view). He was from some back country rural environment – I don’t attend church anymore.

    • Dallas Jenkins

      So you don’t attend church anymore because of a bad Christian? That seems odd. Either you want to follow and worship Christ or you don’t, what do other people have to do with it?

      • DR

        The cavalier, careless dickishness of this comment is stunning.

        • Steven Waling

          I really wish I could like comments here.

  • Angelo Lopez

    Had to deal with this when dating my wife.

  • Lois Markiewicz

    Well, obviously we should love as God loves, and we know God doesn’t love non-believers (yeah, right)

  • Jeremy Hagy

    i was just thinking about this very subject today, or maybe it was yesterday. i agree with your post. i was in a church for almost 10 years that used the scripture “don’t be unequally yoked with non-believers” as their means of not dating/marrying a non-christian. it always confused the hell out of me.

  • PS

    Thank you for this lovely post John. I’m Catholic and my husband, well, I guess you could call him a spiritual explorer. He believes in God, admits he’d make a terrible atheist, doesn’t believe in non-Christian faiths, but he does not want to associate with any particular Christian faith tradition either. He’s occasionally identified himself as agnostic, then sometimes goes back to wanting to pray. We talk about my faith’s teachings, other religions, we delve into discussions about Scripture.

    He grew up in a fundamentalist evangelical home and got burned. Bad. I never knew what it was like to resent Christians in any faith until we lived near my in-laws for several years. I also had no clue how bad spiritual abuse could be until they came into my life. Until we were around them on a more regular basis I didn’t understand some of what was behind my husband’s decision to walk away from any religious association. I thought maybe it was a phase… well, I can tell you now, I *definitely* get it, because if I had such hateful people raising me and telling me this was how it was to be a Christian, I’d probably have walked away too.

    As I mentioned in another comment they raised my husband to think Catholics belonged to a cult, were devil worshippers, that the Mafia funds the Vatican, that we practice idolatry, every stereotype you can think of. So you can imagine how well it went over when he fell in love with this Catholic chick, married me in a Catholic ceremony, and we went on to raise our children as Catholic. They would trick us into coming to their church “just for a little ceremony,” e.g., a child’s dedication, then have a “friend” of theirs come over and bombard us about their young couples ministry.

    When my husband finally put his foot down and told them we weren’t going to worship at their church, ever, and that we were happy with the Catholic parish we attended, they upped the ante by regularly making snide remarks about anything and everything we both believed and marginalizing me. When my husband asked if this was in part because I’m Catholic, they just stared at him uncomfortably and didn’t answer him.

    I won’t even get into the craziness we witnessed the couple of times the family encountered a crisis. We’ve since cut off contact because they are so, so toxic. There’s a level of narcissism there that’s hard to beat, and it sickens me that they hide behind Christ’s robes to justify their abusive behavior.

    The experience isn’t in vain. It’s raised my awareness of spiritual abuse big time. It prompted me to take a good, hard look at myself and how I was viewing others with differing beliefs – I admit I had a chip on my shoulder. I’ve never seen Catholicism as an exclusive club, but a part of me was still judgmental of belief systems I didn’t understand or with which I didn’t agree. Now, I’m a more tolerant person and that’s for the better.

    I had forgotten what Paul said about spouses married to unbelievers – thank you for reminding me. That passage is giving me comfort. I have worries about explaining to my youngest why Dad doesn’t come to Mass sometimes and why it’s not an obligation for him like it is for us if and when he asks someday (my oldest is an adult and has made her own judgments against my husband with which I don’t agree, but that’s her choice). I also, deep down, worry about my husband becoming so bitter from his experience that he develops a negative viewpoint against my faith, undermining our marriage as a result. Reading Paul’s encouragement to hang in there and that it can work out no matter what means a lot.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      PS: Given your bad experience with fundamentalists, I can’t resist asking if you’ve seen my The Fundamentally Toxic Christianity.

  • http://www.albionbaptist.com Edward Devine

    Of course a church has NO right or standing to coerce or condemn a marriage and I hope any person or couple subject to that will find a new church. I can offer some points on why it might be a good idea for two Christians to marry. The first is fellowship; while one is sleeping in on Sunday he or she could be spending “quality time” with the other participating in an activity that is very important to him or her and sharing it with now mutual friends. The next best scenario is separate churches because there reminds the binding in God’s love and Christian attitudes and morals that might otherwise be at variance and to the discomfort or pain of the other. My third point is, if a person’s Christianity is vitally important to her or him , wouldn’t it be the ultimate expression of love to honor that and experience Christianity with the other? Of course coercion and condemnation are out, of course marriages between Christians and non-Christians can work; but of course, there are also reasons why marriage of two Christians is a good idea, even if the relationship doesn’t start out that way, but the church has no standing to require it.

  • Dallas Jenkins

    The context of Paul’s discussion in 1 Corinthians was about people who are saved after they get married, as he gives his point a couple verses later when he says that people should remain in the situation they were in “when God called them.” The whole point of the passage is, “If you become a Christian, don’t just leave your unbelieving spouse.”

    We can’t try to downplay the meaning of Paul’s writing in 2 Corinthians about being unequally yoked. He gets pretty specific about it. “What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?”

    THAT SAID…of course Christians shouldn’t ridicule or demonize each other, especially if they’re not close friends with the person. But obviously, if you’re close friends with someone or have spiritual leadership in their life as an elder or pastor at their church, and you believe they’re making a wrong or unwise decision, you have an obligation to lovingly but firmly express that. But I suspect many people label as “ridicule and demonization” anything that’s said that doesn’t allow them to justify their decisions.

    • Elizabeth

      Refer to John’s response to Remy, mine to Lisa, Jim North’s to Brian W, or anything DR types, ever. Pay attention. It’s not fun to repeat ourselves on your unjustifiable position. But don’t worry: I’m not ridiculing you.

      • yessor

        it appears all you can do it ridicule

        • DR

          “is” ridicule (see what I did there)

          • Barbara Rice

            As Linus once said, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

        • Elizabeth

          I got mad skillz.

          • Barbara Rice

            But can you haz cheezburger?

    • Barbara Rice

      “if you’re close friends with someone or have spiritual leadership in their life as an elder or pastor at their church, and you believe they’re making a wrong or unwise decision, you have an obligation to lovingly but firmly express that.”

      Because it’s a really good way to weed out who WON’T be invited to the wedding.

      • Matt

        Exactly, Barbara. Seriously, what is with all of this “You absolutely must hear what I have to say, because obviously I know every detail you do about your relationship, plus one that you don’t” business? You have an obligation to step in when you are witnessing abuse, or have reasonably strong suspicion of it. Before that, there is this thing called “boundaries.”

        • Barbara Rice

          You got it, Matt. To think you know what’s best for someone else in their relationship, because you don’t approve of the religion/lack of religion of one of the parties, is incredibly pompous and egotistical.

        • Brian W

          If you had an adult child or a dear friend that was about to make a wrong or unwise decision, you wouldn’t speak up “lovingly and firmly”?

          • Barbara Rice

            I assume adults can make their own decisions. It is not my place to tell them whats’ “wrong or unwise.”

          • Brian W

            How about wanting to drive after 6 glasses wine? You wouldn’t say a thing? How about an 18 yr. old child that wants to tattoo part of their face? You wouldn’t say a thing? Adults make wrong and unwise decisions all the time and some are so plainly obvious that if you don’t say anything it is wrong.

          • Barbara Rice

            You’re absolutely right, I would not say a thing. I have known people who were drunk – hell, I have been that drunk – and there is zero point in saying anything to them. Ever argue with a drunk?

            And 18 year olds getting tatted on their face – if it’s legal, I have nothing to say. I see it all the time. It’s not my business.

            I gave up trying to control other people a long time ago and amazingly, the universe has continued without me.

          • mike moore

            Barbara, I want to believe you’re taking a position that’s more rhetorical than true.

            If, indeed, you wouldn’t say a thing to a drunk person about to drive off behind the wheel, then you really ought to be ashamed of yourself. And if you can’t convince a drunk not to drive, you ought to call 911. It’s not an issue of faith, it’s an issue of saving lives.

          • Barbara Rice

            Mike,

            In the past I have said something to people about to drive drunk. Did it ever do any good? No it, did not. It is extremely seldom that it does. Drunks can and will convince you they are fine.

            If someone wants to wrestle the car keys away from them, that’s another issue. But I don’t do it.

            And no, I am not ashamed of myself. Sorry.

          • FloBorg

            And being a non-christian doesn’t necessarily mean to be a non-believer.

          • DR

            Brian, here’s the real issue here. You continue to equate a lot of decisions as “destructive” (which clearly getting behind the wheel after too much alcohol) is. And there’s often, an assumptive feel to those comments that you make, meaning you think everyone you’re in conversation with obviously knows that the Bible makes it clear that “insert behavior here” is destructive. What you might want to consider is the people here on this forum just interpret Scripture very differently at times – they still believe in Jesus, they still have a legitimate faith in Christ – there are just a handful of verses that you’ve historically believed each and every “real” Christian interprets consistently and you’re running into people here who have a different take.

            So I think what might be helpful to consider is how you take those verses and explain *why* you believe them to mean something if you run up against this again (you’re certainly entitled to believe Scriptures mean a certain thing, everyone gets to choose their interpretation). You’re such a sweetheart and it’s hard for me to see you keep experiencing this.

          • DR

            If a friend of mind wanted to earn me against a drug addiction or that I was marrying an abusive man? I’d welcome it. That a friend is telling me that as a result of us interpreting a few scriptures differently, the wonderfully loving supportive and fabulous man I was marrying was “unwise? They’d not be my friend any longer.

          • Matt

            If they asked my opinion or advice, I would give it. If I thought their immediate safety was in danger, I would take action.

            But as Barbara said, adults can make their own decisions. And sometimes it’s the only way that we learn.

    • FloBorg

      “being equally yoke” NEVER meant DO NOT MARRY. Here is the explanation of John Gill, 18th Century theologian.
      Please note that part “there is nothing in the text or context that lead to such an interpretation”. Enjoy your relationship:

      Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers,…. This seems to be an allusion to the law in Deuteronomy 22:10 and to be a mystical explanation of it; and is to be understood not as forbidding civil society and converse with unbelievers; for this is impracticable, then must believers needs go out of the world; this the many natural and civil relations subsisting among men make absolutely necessary; and in many cases is both lawful and laudable, especially when there is any opportunity or likelihood of doing them any service in a spiritual way: not is it to be understood as dehorting from entering into marriage contracts with such persons; for such marriages the apostle, in his former epistle, had allowed to be lawful, and what ought to be abode by; though believers would do well carefully to avoid such an unequal yoke, since oftentimes they are hereby exposed to many snares, temptations, distresses, and sorrows, which generally more or less follow hereon: but there is nothing in the text or context that lead to such an interpretation; rather, if any particular thing is referred to, it is to joining with unbelievers in acts of idolatry; since one of the apostle’s arguments to dissuade from being unequally yoked with unbelievers is, “what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?” and from the foregoing epistle it looks as if some in this church had joined with them in such practices; see 1 Corinthians 10:14. But I rather think that these words are a dissuasive in general, from having any fellowship with unbelievers in anything sinful and criminal, whether in worship or in conversation:

      for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? This, with what is said in the following verse, and in the beginning of the next to that, contain reasons or arguments engaging believers to attend to the exhortation given not to keep company with unbelievers. By “righteousness” is meant righteous persons, who are made the righteousness of God in Christ, to whom Christ is made righteousness, or to whom the righteousness of Christ is imputed for justification; and who also have principles of grace and holiness in their hearts, or have the kingdom of God in them, which consists of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; and who being made free from the dominion of sin, are become servants of righteousness: and by unrighteousness is designed unrighteous persons, who are destitute of a justifying righteousness, are filled with all unrighteousness, and are, as it were, a mass and lump of iniquity; now, what fellowship can there be between persons of such distant characters?

      And what communion hath light with darkness? regenerate men are made light in the Lord; they are enlightened into their state and condition by nature, to see the exceeding sinfulness of sin, to behold the glory, beauty, fulness, and suitableness of Christ, so as to be sensible of their need of him, and to be able to look unto him for life and salvation; they are enlightened more or less into the doctrines of the Gospel, and the duties of religion; and their path is a shining light, shining more and more unto the perfect day. Unregenerate persons are “darkness” itself; they are dark and ignorant of God in Christ, of the way of salvation by Christ, of the work of the Spirit of God upon the heart, and of the mysteries of grace; they know not themselves, nor the sad estate they are in; they are born, and brought up in darkness worse than Egyptian darkness; they go on in it, and if grace prevent not, will be cast into utter and eternal darkness. Now, what “communion” can there be between persons so different one from another? for what is more so than light and darkness? these the God of nature has divided from each other; and they are in nature irreconcilable to one another, and so they are in grace.

      • Laura

        see my response below to this very text….

  • http://earthbound-spirit.blogspot.com Earthbound Spirit

    When I was in college a Campus Life minister asked me about my relationship with my boyfriend & his beliefs. I carefully but clearly told him that the BF was raised Catholic, had doubted since he was 7, and had eventually concluded he was at the very least agnostic, if not atheist. I got the advice & “concern” from him about unequally yoked couples – and promptly dropped Campus Life from my life.

    That then-boyfriend has been my dear spouse for more than 3 decades. We’ve raised 3 children together, and he was incredibly supportive when I went to seminary and pursued ordination in our chosen & shared faith. (How supportive, you ask? When I started seminary our children were 19, 17, and 15 years old; our daughters were in their sophomore & senior years of high school – and they were athletes, with all that implies. So, while I was spending half my life in another city for 3 years, he was in the parenting trenches AND managing his own demanding career.) Unequally yoked? Nope, we’re perfectly matched, and we were lucky enough to recognize it!

    Today I counsel couples to have open & frank discussions about faith and spiritual matters, but I never tell them they have to believe the same things. “We need not think alike to love alike.” (often attrib. to 16th C. Unitarian Francis David; more likely a misquote/paraphrase of Methodist founder, John Wesley)

    • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

      This is lovely. Thank you for sharing your story. :)

    • Cocolicious

      I think you need to elaborate more on this sotry in some form.and speak on topics like purity in such situation and how you made things work. because if i decide to let this ‘non christian’ guy go. i dont think ill be happy like he makes me again

  • http://www.divadarya.com Darya

    My parents were both stalwart supporters of our Methodist church in Westwood, near the UCLA campus in Los Angeles. They dragged my brother and I there as kids, which we weren’t crazy about, but for a while I participated in youth programs, which I more or less enjoyed. About age sixteen I had serious doubts about Christianity; not about the existence of God, mind you, but the very core beliefs of salvation and the idea of Jesus as God’s divine Son. No one made me go, after I expressed my doubts; even my Dad respected my decision.

    At some point my mother stopped going to church and my father went alone, because he loved the singing, the fellowship and comfort he found there. She never went again after about age sixty-five; she also struggled with alcoholism. She had been brutalized by cancer and eventually slipped into a deep depression before she died from cancer of the colon.

    All this time, I had married. Our two kids were never baptized, to my mother’s chagrin, but my Dad, not so much. In the background, I struggled with alcohol as I suppressed unshakable feelings of being transgendered, or to use the language of the fifties, being a “pervert”.

    I’m sober, still married to the same woman,and more Buddhist than Christian, but my heart and mind remain open. My Dad ended up in a retirement home surrounded by a lot of his workmates from the movie industry who were Jewish; this concerned him at first. He ended up having a late life love affair with a Jewish lady as he approached his ninetieth birthday. The last man of God who comforted him and said a prayer for him was a Rabbi; the circle was completed by me, his trans daughter, and my wife.

    I don’t think that even Jesus would expect us to rigidly enforce a group creed; how does one spread the good news if we exclude those who do not believe the same way, or at all? Jesus the teacher, yogi and holy man would have us welcome all with open hearts, and have find the way to him through our own peace and happiness; just my trans Buddhist two cents.

    When my Dad was dying, Rabbi Arthur asked my wife and I if we knew any prayers. I told him I knew the Lord’s prayer and the Serenity prayer; my wife knew the Lord’s prayer. Rabbi Arthur smiled;”That’s a pretty good prayer”

    “Written by a Rabbi…” I added. He nodded, smiled at me and we joined hands. I’m pretty sure my Dad got where he needed to go.

    • Annette

      Darya, Thank you for sharing your story, part tragedy, part triumph, bittersweet and lovely. Blessings on you continued journey and congrats on your sobriety.

  • Believer

    The Apostle Paul also said in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 ” Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

    THE POINT is that by marrying an unbeliever, you jeopardize your faith in God. The Apostle Paul also spoke in 1 Corinthians 15:33 (just a few chapters after what you quoted) that “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”

    Anything that is displeasing to God IS sin.

    Therefore, marrying an unbeliever IS sin. What Paul was speaking about in chapter 7 were people who were ALREADY married, and one spouse became a believer.

    An unbeliever (which it appears you are, John) has no right to give their commentary on Scripture.

    • Barbara Rice

      (Troll sighting)

      Oh bitch, PLEASE.

      Matthew 7:1

      Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why behold you the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? …

      • Believer

        God has made the judgment, and I have pointed out the judgment. Stop quoting the passage as though you know what you’re talking about (which you clearly do not).

        • DR

          Lol. You are so silly.

          • Barbara Rice

            *Snork*

      • Believer

        Oh wow, such an original comeback: quoting Matthew 7:1 the way you did!

        But seriously, that is always quoted by people who don’t like having their sin pointed out to them. The point of pointing things out like that is for correction. Would you use that verse on a professor on a college final you failed miserably? No. Why? Because you need correction.

        The entire New Testament is about correction and the expounding of doctrine.

        Also, Jesus was talking about people who have the appearance of being religious, but are not, also known as hypocrites. There are people who ARE, in fact, religious, who DO, in fact, know what they’re talking about.

        The point is, you have no clue what you’re talking about either.

        • Shannon Montgomery

          Believer, I think I see the problem.

          You wrote, “The entire New Testament is about correction and the expounding of doctrine.”

          In actuality, the entire New Testament is about Jesus Christ coming to upend societal customs with the radical love of God. Jesus boiled everything God expects of us down to two things: Love God and love each other. That’s really all there is to it.

          There’s a lot of commentary on what that means, but the heart of it is genuinely that simple.

          Love God.

          Love each other.

      • yessor

        why is it when a person quotes the Bible and it doesn’t agree with your ideas, they’re a troll? Apply Matthew 7:1 to yourself.

        The Word, (that is, the Lord) says believers are not to marry unbelievers. A believer who goes against that shows they love their prospective mate more than the Lord. That’s idolatry.

    • Barbara Rice

      Or, as DR said below, “The cavalier, careless dickishness of this comment is stunning.”

      • Believer

        Your lack of understanding Scripture is duly noted.

        You don’t think in terms of what God has said, therefore, your statement is absurd and foolish.

        On that note, believers should not be asking an unbeliever for their personal opinions on Scriptural matters.

        • DR

          You cute little donkey. Bless your heart.

          • Barbara Rice

            I’m kind of waiting for the “everyone has to agree with John!” bleating, aren’t you?

    • Elizabeth

      Poor formatting is so displeasing to God. All those pesky italics in the KJV.

      • Believer

        The author of this post quoted the King James.

        • Barbara Rice

          Enjoy your 15 minutes of fame. Fundie trolls get the boot.

          • Believer

            Not looking for fame, and not trolling. I read an article that was absurdly stupid, and there are going to be believers who read this and go along with it because they think it’s right. IT’S NOT.

            I’m trying to keep Christians from seeing, and believing, this nonsense, and to point out the very obvious flaw in the reasoning; the flaw being the fact that the quote being given as ‘proof’ of an unbeliever’s point is actually not even given to unmarried people.

          • Elizabeth

            You know KJV stands for King James Version, right? I studied where they translated the OT. That’s Old Testament. I already seen it, dude.

          • Barbara Rice

            Because, of course, the very best way to convince someone of anything is to first insult their intelligence and tell them they don’t know what they’re talking about. Because, of course, YOUR interpretation is the only correct way. Yeah. Uh-huh.

            *Waits for the “I didn’t say it, GOD said it” excuse*

          • vern

            believer statements seem to come from the extreme right of evangelism – which indicates that anything outside of their very narrow, strict interpretation of the scripture is wrong and unchristian. I happen to have read many Christian authors who are more forward thinking, more progressive and more grounded in the newer translations of the old documents than many others. I have been called a liberal and many other names, but I am not willing to cram down any ones throat what I cannot completely substantiate from scripture and other reading. taking scripture out of context isn’t proof of anything except that you can memorize something, and probably not actually live it.

  • Leslie Baird

    I fell in love with a liberal nonChristian. It just hit me. I didn’t decide. It is not Satan and it is real love It could be the Lord even. Pastors guide us they don’t control our relationship with the Lord. We recenty had a rift and it is like a theatre of pain. Not a good ticket. Don’t recomnend it. If I ask the Lord to let me out my boyfriend might feel the pain. I love you all. Thx for listening.

  • Debby

    Let’s talk societal context a moment. Surveys by the Barna Group show that the ratio of unmarried “Christian” women to men makes it statistically impossible for all female “believers” to be “equally yoked,” even if they all wanted to be. That’s not heresy, that’s reality!

    Personally, my faith is built upon the work of Christ in my life, not the beliefs of my significant other. And the proverbial references to the corruption by bad company is based on the faulty assumption that non-Christians are incapable of possessing good character. Fundamentalists seem to be good at “otherizing” those who don’t believe exactly like them, and by doing so justify looking down upon them — which to me is a bad character trait to have, Christian or not.

  • Rhi

    Hey there… Your relationship sounds a bit like mine, except reversed. My fiance (we just recently got engaged) is a dedicated Christian who lives for God each and every day. He grew up in church and is also the family of the church. When we started dating, I was not a Christian. Some people told him it was not a good idea, while others told him to continue witnessing to me and plant the seed of Christ in my heart. Long story short, I am now saved and a baptized Christian for a year… (and we have been together for about 2 years now). So, the reason I’m telling you this is because my Fiance did not give up on me. He loved me enough to constantly speak the truth, even when he knew I would get mad at him. I can tell you love your fiance, so continue to speak the truth to him. Keep asking God for help, let the holy spirit work through you and touch your fiance. God knows whats best, and he wants us to spread His word, and He wants your fiance to be saved. I wish you the best on this journey… and I’ll pray for you. God bless.

    • Leanne

      wow that is good. I just read that you have come to Jesus and that is awesome. I am glad your boyfriend did not give up on you. I married a very ungodly man in Peru last year who treated me worse then an animal. He was abusive. I left him in Peru and came back home to Melbourne Australia. He has gotten on with his life and I am trying to get on with mine. But I am not getting married again. It is good your bf did not give up on you. My sister never gave up on me either and I came to Jesus in 2005 for the first time. Jesus even gave me dreams and visions so I can believe in Him even more. He is absolutely Loving, and He is the Best. May the Love of Jesus be with you always.

    • marlyse

      How did he constantly speak the truth to you? How did he keep his walk with Christ and still be with a non- believer?

      • Jessica

        I am in the same situation right now. I have been saved and decided to love God and all His glory, but my boyfriend’s friends are skeptical. They think I made this choice to be with my boyfriend, but I honestly and truthfully know I am loved by Christ. Even after my decisions, I feel judged by all my boyfriends friends. I have my own separate identity that I have established in my church and continue to learn and grow in Christ even without my boyfriend. You ask how someone can be truthful while being with a non-believer…no one is a “non-believer” , they are simply lost in sin and need to be saved. God is not going to punish someone for using his power in love with another if it is in His name, God saw my love grow for him and my boyfriend with all his grace gave me exactly what I needed. The choosing of a non-believer in itself is not the sin, God makes paths for people and if he knows that a relationship is wrong he would never not show you that in some way. Being equally yoked is not to be at the same place in Christ, but to be giving the same amount to Christ. If you are just learning and seeking faith but giving as much effort to understand as the saved is to better their connection you are equally yoked, just in different phases of Gods plan for you. If the person shows no interest and support for the faith, why would you want to be with them anyway if that’s what you want for your life, but if they are interested and want to support and grow what are you losing? Only a love that you could regret losing for the rest of your life. It is the sins that may follow that are concerning to everyone around you in a relationship like this, if the one who is saved in the relationship can keep their center on God and know their partner is learning and growing also as equally as they are that is truly a miracle and not many people have that love. Judgment of human love is a sin, as is judging Gods love, judgment is not anyone’s place but God.

  • Hmm

    May I ask you believers… How many of you speak in tongues? How many of you believe in the holy trinity?

    I think Christians are VERY good at picking and choosing what they believe in. It is very clear with Christianity. Who is anyone to judge someone’s choice of love. At the end of the day if someone chooses to love someone who is not a Christian. who is of the same sex or whatever let it be because at the end of the Christ loves us all.

    Doesn’t it say in Romans 14 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

    God loves us regardless. Marry who you want, Christianity is a walk with Christ and SHOULD be between you and Christ and no other man. Enough said

  • InJesusITrust

    I found this article as I was searching on Google how to ease my heart from my condemning friends who are not supportive of my engagement to my non-Christian boyfriend.. And I admit, it gave me comfort, not in a way that I know the article was right.. But in a way that someone doesn’t want to judge me for what I have chosen to do and this person even is telling people to be supportive of love of any denomination and gender.. So I want to thank John for this article. I will still be marrying this person and asked God to forgive me for this as I know this is not His perfect will for me..

    I also want to say that being ‘yoked’ is not just for marriage.. It’s any relationship that has a commitment be it personal or business.. If lots of people will understand that, maybe they wouldn’t be so condemning of other Christians marrying non-Christians.. Just saying..

    Thanks!

    • marlyse

      “Asked God to forgive me for this as I know this is not his perfect will for me..” God wants your heart and you…that’s all.

  • KL

    I am in a relationship with someone who is not a Christian in the same way I define myself, he is not born again but does not lack faith (even if his faith comes across as very small). According to what Paul says, believers and unbelievers should not be unequally yoked. The Bible also says in 1 Corinthians 10:23 that everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial. Most people when they are looking for support and encouragement, refer to certain Bible verses to empower a cause or to find correction and this is very much up to that individual (its a pretty good start to go straight to God’s word). One of the best things God gave us is free choice, and every choice we make has a complication and a consequence. Surprisingly enough through this path I have chosen, God has sought my heart and mine His, despite my boyfriend not being a Christian. I have a much deeper relationship with God now than I did before I started dating my boyfriend. And through my growth with God during this time, the most amazing things are starting to happen – for me and for him. It seems my boyfriend is beginning to navigate his own relationship with God. Love really does do amazing things.

    Each decision that we make can either take us closer to God or further away. And all I have seen from my experience is God getting closer and closer to the both of us. God has softened both our hearts. I won’t offer any advice because I am not an expert on the Bible. Or God for that matter. But I do know a few of things, I love God, I love my boyfriend and am becoming a better person through having both of them in my life. With all I have been through in my life, God has proven that in each circumstance He comes through when I commit it to Him.

    • Cocolicious

      hello
      read this and felt so comforted by it. i am in the same situation. i love him and want to be with him.but afriad that by doing so i am dissapointing God and not waiting for his best. i really do believe he loves me and we could work. so how did it work with you guys especiall with things like purity?

    • She_is_blesses

      Nice, I’m in the same situation. The man I’m dating we started when I was back sliding and he was my reason to follow God’s ways. I am now a better woman because of it. I’m living with Christ as the center of my life and in turn that makes me a better girlfriend. He now is opening his heart to understand the way of Jesus more. He supports my life change and respects me more. He helps me to fight temptation. He uplifts me and reminds me to use faith when I’m down. I was worried about the relationship because he doesn’t do as I do. But it was brought to my attention that maybe I was placed in his life to help guide him. My only concern is that I need my future husband to be my leader. So, I’m waiting on that answer from God. Blessings!

  • Kim

    This article is a little off according to what the Bible actually says about a Christian and non-

    Christian being married. This passage by Paul that is quoted is about divorce and Paul is saying that if you are already married to a non-Christain don’t divorce them. BUT if you are not married then the Bible is clear to not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. And as a TRUE Christian and friend I would most definitely tell my Christian friends to not marry an unbeliever because if she truly wants to follow Jesus the man is the spiritual leader of the household and how can the man lead if he doesn’t even believe. Why would she want to bring potential problems into her life with a man who doesnt have the same priorities. I am single and I love Jesus too. I know that he loves me and I am also tempted by men in my life who don’t believe in Jesus but still I am holding out for the man I know God has for me. I trust that God has a strong man of faith for me but I have to be patient and wait and not just marry someone because I am unwilling to follow God and let him lead me in this very important part of my life. I have a friend who is married to a man who doesn’t believe and she allows her marriage to hinder her own personal relationship with Christ. As for me, my personal relationship with Christ is first and foremost and the Bible says it should be. We are to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. His ways are to protect us and lead us in the best life for ourselves but if we choose our own way then we reap the consequences of our actions. Yes, God is merciful and he is redeemer but why put him to that test and not be willing to wait and pray for his very best from the beginning.

    • Lymis

      You do know that you can feel it’s important to have a spouse who shares your spiritual beliefs and practices without feeling the need to condemn those who don’t, don’t you?

      And for that matter, that the world is full of people who married fellow believers and didn’t have it work out so well?

      I think, perhaps, a review of the Mary and Martha story is in order. Not everyone follows Jesus the same way.

    • Liz

      We also have to remember the books of the bible attributed to Paul are letters written to various churches. In many respects, they are his opinion about situations that are specific to each church. While they may offer a good food for thought and contemplation, I think they make a poor foundation for theology. The other part of this is, we do not have the correspondence about specific situation(s) he may have been responding to so to say that his advice to the Corinthian applies to current day situations is problematic at best. If a person finds someone who is respectful, treats them well and supportive of their faith, who are you to judge that it is a problem? To assume that your friend allows her marriage to hinder her sounds arrogant on your part. You don’t know her heart, or everything that goes on in her relationship. Her relationship may be problematic due to reasons that have nothing to do with her spouse being non-Christian. Trust me if you think a spouse being a believer is going to make your relationship smooth sailing, think again. Relationships take work, hard work whether the spouses are of the same faith or not.

      • Jules

        Hear hear…

        If Jesus didn’t take the time to condemn it, anyone claiming something is sinful is highly suspect.

        His message was short, clear, and complete. He never said he was gonna pop up later, blind a guy for a few days, and that guy would fill in the details about how to handle gays, interfaith marriage, and women speaking in church. It’s absurd that the church bases so much un-Christlike behavior based on the words of a fellow fallible human. I’m a Christian… not a Paulian, not a Nicean, not a follower of men.

        I think it’s telling that the only times I remember Jesus acting in anger or frustration was when dealing with the religious hypocrites… From money changers to Pharisees, he saved his harshest words for those who would insert themselves between man and God. He came to bridge that gap, and too many people end up seeking guidance from middlemen rather than reading and understanding His words for themselves.

  • Austin

    I think what needs to be understood first and foremost is that Corinthians is written by Paul in his opinion of relationships that involve the romantic form of love as opposed to the fatherly form of love which is the most prevalent type in the Bible.

    He asks his readers to do as he has and as God has guided his life in matters of the heart. He then gives a few words to heed should you choose to do things differently.

    The reason Paul offers his knowledge on this subject…Jesus was never married. The Lord himself has never been in a relationship. Relationships and marriage are mankinds doing that God acknowledged when he created Eve for Adam.

  • charlesmaynes

    Love is evidence of God… he does inhabit it.

  • Amy Hoag

    I am a Christian and have been married to my non-Christian husband for 15 years. We had pre-marital counseling and were married in the church (Disciples of Christ). The minister who married us felt like that we were a good fit and we discussed issues that might come up in the future. We’ve always been on the same page and he’s always been fine in us bringing my kids up in the church. I have to say that any negative experiences that I have had when it comes to not being married to a Christian have been from other Christians… (there have been several times of judgement by others) I think that as long as your spouse is respectful of your relationship with Christ and the church and you likewise are respectful then you will be fine. I do have to say that the only time I am truly uncomfortable is when there is discussion of Revelations. I did one study and decided that it was too hard for me to do another one again. Don’t be the judgmental Christian to someone who hasn’t been blessed to have a relationship with Christ and don’t assume you are a better Christian than anyone else just because you married one… God Bless all of you!

  • Mrs. Cherry

    I pray that us Christians will learn to really yield to the Spirit, and not follow our own flesh and justify our departures from God’s clear instructions. Either we believe and trust Him 100% or we only believe and follow the parts that are convenient or that we like. I pray for true integrity in our relationship with our Father. Jesus says, if you love me, you will obey me. Either you are obeying your own opinion and your own wants, or obeying what the Lord wants, even when his desires conflict with ours. I thought when we say he is Lord, we agree to submit to His entire Lordship over every area of our lives. In any event, I pray we have courage to put Him first as we are supposed to. Read the whole Bible, and watch how grieved God is when His children disobey Him and do what is right in their own eyes. So while you may be happy, know that your Father, who still loves you, is grieved when we choose our own understanding over His.

    • She_is_blesses

      Amen!

  • HappyCat

    Being married is hard. Having different faiths is not easy, but it can be done with thought, communication,and love. It seems to me that if a non-Christian spouse encourages you in your faith, is supportive, and there for you through thick and thin, then the choice is clear – find a church that supports you both.

  • Bones

    Seems some have exchanged Moses’s Law for Paul’s Law.

    Paul didn’t get everything right, that’s even if you don’t accept that some of the Pauline epistles weren’t written by Paul.

    As for the post, it depends on the type of Christian you are. If you’re an Evangelical who’s going to spend their life trying to convert their spouse then it would be a nightmare for both.

    • Mara

      What type of Christian you are?
      There is one body. One Christ. One Follower.
      There are no ‘Type’s’, there are only sinners.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        To continue the body analogy, there are, as Paul attests, many parts, some of us are blood cells, others are toenails, some may even be ear hair, or the bellybutton, an eyelash, or a lymph node. As the body is made up of a wide variety of parts, each unique in shape, size and purpose, so too are Christians. Therefore there are all types of Christians.

  • Mrs. Cherry

    While God gives all of us free will to do as our flesh desires, and some believers tell others to marry whoever they want, no matter how unGodly, a woman (or man) who knowingly chooses to marry someone in an unrepentant state should pray to understand the cost. Spiritual intimacy is an amazing gift and experience that you forfeit until your unbelieving spouse becomes a believer. Are you sure your unbelieving mate can lead your future household in prayer to fight the spiritual battles that are really at work in this world. And, I’m curious as to how an unbelieving father can teach and show his child HOW and WHY to trust in the LORD and HIS promises when storms come, given that the man is not willing to do it for himself. Various parts of the Bible tell parents to teach their children the things of the Lord. Are you sure that an unbeliever can speak to his/her children with any spiritual, Holy Spirit filled authority, and be “believable.” Women who chose this path must be willing and ready to fulfill the spiritual headship role of their household by themselves, almost like a “single” mother in the spiritual aspect, until your future husband agrees to accept this role. I pray that God still gets glory from these marriages in the long-run.

  • Jay

    You know what? it is said that be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers..always remember that satan could offer pleasant things upon your sight just to convince you to the way he wants you to walk with…maybe that unbeliever boyfriend of yours offer a brilliant idea of letting you go back to church and have fellowship with christian friends because he knows it is your happiness but it is not a guarantee that he is good enough and loves you more than himself because if he do, then he would choose to follow your ways and go to a church of which your happiness belong..that is, if he really loves you. sometimes, we were being deceive by our own heart (Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?)..as a christian woman, before deciding to marry that guy, try to ask God to save your unbeliever fiancee…because if christian married another christian, a divorce sometimes occur then how much more a christian and unbeliever will do?..always remember that there is no fear in love..thus, let your boyfriend decide if he is willing to be inn in the path where Christ is or in the way of which he is in (which we know that, an unbeliever or unsaved is a son of satan). thus, what communion would there be between a christian and an unbeliever? how can you live a harmonious life when you cannot be one in spirit..try to think of this, an oil will never be mixed homogeneously with water. (IICor. 4:13 Now for a recompense in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged. 14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, )

    If he really loves you, he will love your God and receive your father Jesus as his savior .and yes, you are living with sin if you do that…and if you are willing to take the risk then be courageous enough in facing the consequences..and be of good cheer and lead him to the way of life…but if you faint and weak then the truth is, you cant lead them to come nearer to Jesus..be sober, be vigilant…believe me coz my mother had that kind of relationship with father during their 1st stage of relationship but hey! my mother marries my father when my father decided to follow Jesus and yes they face the consequences of her disobedience but because of love they conquer it all and look because of their faithfulness to God..we reap the abounding blessings….you have to choose between blessing or a curse…remember, either of which you’ll choose there is a corresponding blessing or curse that would be pass on from generation to generation depending on which side you choose and live for..

    • Bones

      “an unbeliever or unsaved is a son of satan”

      Complete and utter rubbish!

      Paul is giving advice and his opinion. It’s not Law. In fact, Paul’s quote from 2 Cor 4 deals specifically with marrying pagan worshippers.

      It’s no more relevant than women having to cover their heads or sending slaves back to their masters.

      A non-Christian marrying you would seem like being under a curse.

      I don’t know how those with literal views of the Bible can bear being married to a spouse who they will see one day being thrown into a Lake of Fire and rejoice.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Thank you for your opinion and for copy/pasting what appears to be a convuluted to supposedly support your opinion. At the end of the day, that is all this is. Condemning others because you see things differently is quite unattractive. Please think on that.

  • Ruth

    I have been following Jesus for around 10 months now. However I have been in a sexual relationship for 2 years and I am massively struggling with how to change this. My boyfriend is a non-christian and sex is a fairly large part of our relationship when we’re together (it is currently a long distance relationship). I feel the last 3/4 weeks God has been telling me that my sexual sin is what I now need to focus on, now that I have started to fully feel Gods presence in my life (which has been amazing until I sinned a few days ago, now I just feel sad that I’ve let God down). I just don’t know how I can change. But I want to. I have searched the internet for hours the last few days to try and find things to help. If anyone has any advice it would be much appreciated.

    • Bones

      You didn’t let God down.

      Where do you get that from? He created and knows you. He doesn’t love you any less.

      God wants you to be yourself. He doesn’t want you to try to be someone else (cue the cookie cutter Christians).

      That’s who He created – and He said it was good.

      I find the idea that sin keeps us from God (ie Jesus) as medieval and pharisaic. It’s clear from the life of Jesus that ‘sin’ didn’t top Him accepting us.

      As for your sexual relationship, that’s your call and be honest with your partner.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Why do you feel that intimacy with your boyfriend is sinful? Do you feel he’s important in your life? Do you see a future together? Does he treat you with kindness, love and respect? Is there more than just the physical?

      And as Bones has said, God doesn’t want you to change a thing about the person you are. You are adored just like you are right now. if there is a person who makes your heart sing, then God is happy for you. If there is someone who, at least for a time, helps you to feel, special, and loved, then I can’t see why God isn’t delighted in that as well.

      My suggestion is to look at this relationship, if it feels right, even if there is no intimacy, and if you think it can dig even deeper. Set aside the guilt, that isn’t God. I think its what Christian culture, teaches us, because of an odd fear of sex. The Bible is loaded with people who had sex outside of marriage, and weren’t condemns for their actions..

      • Gina H

        Allegro63, I think you have good intentions, but your advice is NOT biblical. God is clear as day and night on how premarital sex is a sin and it hurts not only God’s heart, but also ourselves. I have personally felt a strong calling to stop having premarital sex 2 years ago and have since been committed to celibacy. If we truly want to live in holiness, we should be able to give up anything for God. That includes our sexuality. Sex is a beautiful gift of intimacy from God, but outside of marriage, it’s a disgrace to our Father. It’s in the Bible.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          The stories of Abraham Jacob, Judah, Tamar, David, Solomon, Ruth, the woman at the well, say other wise.

          Celibacy is a personal choice. it is NOT for everyone, nor should it be..

          • Gina H

            Are you kidding me? Have you read the Bible? David had to repent for his sin of lusting after another man’s wife and having him killed so that he can taker her. Solomon in the end chose idolatry and forsook God. Ruth patiently waited for Boaz. The Bible says nothing of Ruth and Boaz having premarital relations. Boaz is described as a righteous man.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            What about all those wives and concubines David had? Solomon forsook God? I think David had to repent more for the premeditated murder of Bathsheba’s husband then his sleeping with her. The evidence doesn’t support that, especially his end of life ode. There is suggestions by scholars, that the ritual Ruth performed precluded intimacy.
            And yeah, I’ve read the Bible, many times, and still reference it regularly.

    • Gina H

      Ruth,
      I applaud and commend your courage in wanting to desire God more than having sexual relations. You haven’t let God down. If you read in the Bible how Jesus interacted with the Semaritan woman at the well, he knew her whole life story–she’d been with countless men. But did he condemn her or call her names? No, he showed her godly grace and mercy. That mercy renewed each and every second of our lives. This story gave me so much hope when I was living in sin. I felt like God was going to punish me, but the very next day I went to church for the first time in a long time and heard this sermon. I felt like God was talking directly to me.

      It’s hard, but if you feel called to work on this area of your life, you have to remove yourself from this relationship. This is not going to be an easy choice because obviously you have emotions clouding your judgment, but simply telling your nonChristian boyfriend that you want to stop having sex is only going to create tension in the relationship. He’s not going to understand because in his mind, it’s not sin.

      At the end of the day, the choice is yours–God or him? This may not be the advice you want to hear, and I know it’s very unpopular in our generation and culture. But God’s wisdom is foolishness to the world and the world’s wisdom is foolishness to God.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Your guilt tripping her is not helping.

        The woman at the well was in a relationship when she talked to Jesus. He knew she was living with a guy and was sexually active with him. He simply stated it as a fact about her, and moved on, saying nothing further. Not a word was said, about her moving out,or telling her to “stop sinning” or that she was a harlot or an adulteress, or to live a celibate life from that point. It was a non-issue.

        But then this is the same man who was friends with known prostitutes, and people of “low repute” or the ones society deemed sinful or unclean. This same Jesus, who refused to condemn a woman accused, tried and convicted of adultery, with her so called paramour nowhere to be seen…Personally I think the poor woman was raped. Yes, he was friends with the sexually active and not married. He hung out with them, ate at their houses, enjoyed their companies.

        So if Jesus didn’t seem to have any problems with the sexual habits of the people he encountered, why should we?

        • Gina H

          Jesus saw that the woman at the well was broken, lost, and defeated. He wanted so, so much more than that for her and offered everlasting water–himself. Yes, God loves us all and he is forever merciful and graceful, but we can’t abuse that. We can’t just do whatever we want and use the “God loves me no matter what” card. It’s not scriptural at all.

          • Andy

            And an ascetic lifestyle is hardly plausible for most people. This is why many of us stop trying to worry about whether everything is a sin, and instead whether or not a specific action hurts others. If it harms no one else, ask yourself, why is it a sin? Should it still be regarded as one? I mean, take the unclean food thing…we now have refrigerators. And so lots of people eat that which was deemed unclean by books of the pentateuch. Are they sinning? If not, why should sex undertaken responsibly between consenting adults be one?

          • Gina H

            There are too many verses in the Bible that explicitly say sex outside of marriage is sin. Do you seriously think “Unclean foods” and sexual immorality are on the same level? Jesus himself says it is not unclean foods that defile a person, but one’s intentions and actions. (Mark 7:19) Here are some of the many verses that warn against sexual immorality. Your views are indeed popular in today’s secular generation, but that’s not the same thing as following Jesus’ teaching.
            [Jesus] said, “It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (NRSV, Mark 7:20-23)

            Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins people commit are outside their bodies, but those who sin sexually sin against their own bodies. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (TNIV, 1 Corinthians 6:18-20)

          • James Walker

            you’re trying too hard to rely on “God said it” as a rationale for telling other people what is or is not moral behavior. I would propose recognizing that the Bible is not “received text” but is instead the product of very human men trying to put into human words what the Spirit was conveying to them about how to be a good Jew or a good Christian.

          • Gina H

            I love it when people use the “But the Bible is an outdated piece of literature written by fallible men” argument. It always comes up when people find parts of the Bible inconvenient to their lifestyle.

            If you believe that the Bible is inherently flawed due to its source, why read it at all? Just make up your own religion and follow your own morals.

          • BarbaraR

            Gina, are you familiar with John Shore and the people who regularly seek this forum out?

          • James Walker

            hmm.. I didn’t use the word “outdated” so you must be objecting to some argument I didn’t actually make…

            and, since there is no other collection of literature on earth that can teach me how to be a Christian, I think I’ll stick to reading and studying my Bible, thank you very much.

          • Andy

            If you’re comfortable living an ascetic lifestyle, more power to you. But don’t tell other responsible adults how to live.

          • Eleen

            Honoring your body as a temple of the holy spirit who resides in you is honoring God Himself.

            When a fellow christian seek advice from others, he/she is to ask God for discernment. If what they are saying is consistent with His Word and spoken in love, it could be God using His children to relate to the person in doubts, prompting the person to turn back on his/her path for God’s path instead.Consistent concerns are red flags God has lovingly placed in our life to warn us of trouble up ahead. Learn and listen.

            “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear.” Proverbs 25:11-12

            When someone claims that he/she is a christian but doesn’t strive to live a holy lifestyle that pleases God, then this person is simply a believer but not a true disciple of God for not wanting to follow His teaching.

            In order to build and improve our relationship with God, we have to lead a life of praying, fasting, fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ, obeying and following His way. Not our will but His will be done. One must be willing to exchange all of him/her in exchange for all of God.

          • Andy

            Hey, if that works for you, more power to you. But it doesn’t for me. I don’t believe God deliberately places hardships in our path, or that we must abstain from earthly pleasures — as long as we are responsible — just because some ancient writer, who may or may not have been writing to us today, and may or may not have been writing a dictation from God, said so. Life is hard. Whatever gets you through the night, and doesn’t hurt anyone else, is good with me, be it prayer, meditation, sex, or anything else.

            Who are you to find fault with others and their relationship with God? Just…don’t. It’s not your business. Worry about yourself; that should be enough for you.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            She was broken lost and defeated? Sounds like to me that she was a survivor, having accepted her lot, and after Jesus left, she went back to her life as before, wiser, and with greater joy.
            I’ve been down the “do this, don’t do this” route of trying to ensure that God loved me. I discovered the utter futility of such a fallacy. If God doesn’t love us no matter what, then the Bible is useless, Jesus is a liar, and we are all wasting our time.

          • Eleen

            As imperfect human, we often sin without knowing ourselves. Our standard isn’t God’s standard and the wage of sin is death. This clearly shows that God is righteous and god of holiness can’t stand sins. Yet, being a god of mercy, if we confess and repent, God forgives and cleanse us from any unrighteousness. We are saved not because we deserve it but we are saved by His grace. However this doesn’t mean that we could indulge in sins such as sexual immorality, lying etc and expect God to forgive us of our sins each time we confess and yet do not repent of our sins. God look at our heart, He knows whether we are truly sorry and have truly repent or not. If we do not truly repent, our prayers would not be heard and our blessings would be withhold. And we could even drift further away from God. We have to strive to lead a holy life for God and be Christ-like for His glory.

            God loves us for who we are. But because He loves us too much, God wants to change us inside out, and mold us to become the person He wants us to be. God first loves us. And if we love God, we must obey him and follow His commandment in order to glorify our Father in heaven. Love without sacrifices is nothing. We must be willing to do anything to please God.

          • James Walker

            as Christians, we are set free from the law of sin and death. we have been resurrected with Christ into a new life where the Law of Love has been written on our hearts by God’s Grace.

          • Bones

            This clearly shows that God is righteous and god of holiness can’t stand sins.

            Yeck. Who told you that?

            You need to read more about Jesus if you think God ‘can’t stand sins’.

        • Wilbert James Futalan

          Not that Jesus didn’t seem to have any problems with the sexual habits of the people he encountered, but that he didn’t want to condemn them of their sins. But that doesn’t mean that he tolerates their sins (or sexual habits, as you call it). In fact, he pointed the fact that she sinned.

          “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11)

          That is how gracious Jesus is to us. We sin, but then he gives us second chances. That doesn’t mean however that we can stay in our life of sin. He said, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

          • Bones

            But I thought God can’t be in the presence of sin and the reward of sin is death!

            So according to Evangelical theology, Jesus should have necked her on the spot.

            Cos God hates sin and can’t be in it’s presence.

            ‘Sin’ is vastly overrated and is such a hideous term filled with baggage.

            All it means is to miss the mark.

            My take on it is that ‘sin’ has nothing to do with God or our relationship with God but everything that keeps us from peace, happiness and fulfillment.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I agree. And the thing is, the parameters of one’s peace, happiness and fulfillment are not found in the one size fits all bin, nor, necessarily, are some of the things that may keep someone from it.

          • Wilbert James Futalan

            It’s hard to quantitatively set the parameters of one’s peace, happiness and fulfillment, as the specifics vary from one person to another, but all of these have one in common: the joy of being with God. As Augustine puts it, “My heart is restless (not satisfied, not fulfilled) until it finds its rest in Thee.”

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I disagree. There are plenty of non-deists who have found all three without a need or an acknowledgement of the divine. Then there are plenty of deists who strive mightily for that sense of those three ideals, and fail to see any joy in God’s presence, despite honestly seeking it.

            In otherwords, one’s peace, happiness or fulfillment is not dependent on one’s understanding of divinity.

          • Wilbert James Futalan

            That is true. ” the reward of sin is death!” is a good paraphrase of Romans 6:23:

            “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

            “Jesus should have necked her on the spot.” That’s another good thought, especially that God cannot allow sin near him.

            But if that’s the reason why God sent Jesus to the world, then he would have killed everyone, because everyone is a sinner, and that includes Peter (who by the way is a self-professed sinner, see Luke 5:8), and the other apostles.

            This is taken from Romans 3:23:
            ” for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

            Here is where God’s love comes in. Imagine if God is only just and not loving, he would have killed everyone. But he did not. Why?

            Let’s look at John 3:16-17
            For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge (or condemn, or kill) the world (because of their sins), but that the world might be saved through Him.

            That’s why I thank God for being gracious. He could have “necked” me, but instead, he died for my sins. (I owe God my life.)

            About sin, I agree that sin literally means “to miss the mark” and that is God’s standard. Sin has something to do with God (had it not, God would not mind sin and would not care if it’s in His presence). Sin is not following His will. What is His will? Part of it is in the commandments (there’s a long discussion on this). But we can be sure that his will is “good, pleasing, and perfect.” (Romans 12:2) and His will leads us to eternal peace, happiness and fulfillment.

            There is emphasis on the word eternal. Because sometimes, God’s will leads us away from our comfort zones. (We know more of this from the book of Acts.)

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Yet everyone dies anyway. Maybe death is the reward for surviving life. Maybe there is nothing afterwards. Maybe this whole “falling short of God’s ideal” is not God’s idea, but man’s. Maybe God isn’t in the business of killing anyone at all, despite people trying to give divinity the credit/blame for such things. Maybe God has less issues with the human concept of sin, than we seem to. Maybe the idea of God being unable to be in the same place as “sin” means that God is more human than divine, a construct of our making, exhibiting similar limitations to what bothers or offends us.

            You see it is those pondering, that are not easily answered, that don’t fit the neat little box of scripture verses that are the questions that some of us ask. Sometimes its a good idea to set aside preconvieved ideas, dogmas, theologies and holy texts, and simply wonder. It is often in that wonderment, where we discover that when it comes to God, we know nothing…and are awed.

          • Wilbert James Futalan

            Those are questions that many people ask. They are not easily answered (or probably they can’t be answered at all in this life) but here’s where faith comes in. “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 12:1)

            It is amazing that we can never fully know God for our finite minds can only take in so much but through faith, we can hold on to these “snippets” of revelation. “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” (1 Cor. 13:12)

          • She_is_blesses

            Very Good! :)

        • Eleen

          So do you think Jesus would allow His believing children to continue engaging in sexual immorality despite being saved by His grace? If you don’t understand the situation, try to understand God’s character. God is love and love is a choice and an action. Your love for God is determined by your willingness to give sacrificially, and it also includes taking up the cross and follow His will. It is God’s will for us to stay pure for marriage and most importantly for God. If one love God, he/she would observe His commandment.

          • Good

            God I hate hearing stuff like this from so called Christians. So little compassion, I can’t believe people still spout this rubbish in this day and age.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Ruth, Don’t change a thing.

      God loves you just how you are right now.

      • Gina H

        Ruth her herself says she feels convicted that God has been telling her to no longer ignore her sexual sin. This is obviously something between her and God. How can you tell her not to change a thing? The bible is clear as night and day that sex outside of marriage is displeasing to God. The point of having a relationship with God is to become more and more like Jesus each and everyday. Jesus died for us so that we don’t have to be dead in our sin. We can’t just say “God loves us no matter what” and live unholy lives full of murder, fornication, jealousy, and all that is anti-God.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          I can tell her that becaue I know God loves her right where she is, as she is, and who she is right now. She’s no more displeasing God than you are. Being like Jesus is learning to be more compassionate, understanding, kind, generous, and to stop looking at others as “other, sinner, unclean”

          • Gina H

            God hates sin, not the sinner. I’m not telling her that she’s unclean, but sin is sin. Churches of our generation are too focused on God’s mercy, and we conveniently forget that He is still a Father who disciplines. He does so with the loving heart of a parent who wants us to have freedom from sin. I’m merely trying to help her as a fellow sister in Christ.

            I can sit here and comment on forums all day, but at the end of the day, everyone has a personal relationship with God. This will be my last comment.

          • James Walker

            it’s fascinating to me that you’re unable to see the inherent contradictions in your own comment.

            To tell another person that some specific action they are doing is sinful IS telling them that they are unclean. That’s exactly what it means to tell someone that their specific actions are sin.

            “loving heart of a parent who wants us to have freedom from sin” how is it possible to study the New Testament and come away from it with this idea that the goal is somehow to live sinless lives? and that “trying to help her as a fellow sister in Christ” involves pointing out her sins to her so she can stop doing them? that’s legalism! you’ve completely missed the message of Paul’s writing not to mention Jesus’ teachings in the gospels. I suggest starting over from the beginning and reading without the chapter and verse markers.

          • Wilbert James Futalan

            how is it possible to study the New Testament and come away from it with this idea that the goal is somehow to live sinless lives?

            It’s found on Colossians 3

            Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your[a] life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

            5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming.[b] 7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.

            how is it possible to study the New Testament and come away from it with this idea that” trying to help her as a fellow sister in Christ” involves pointing out her sins to her so she can stop doing them?

            It’s found on 2 Tim. 3:16
            16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong [that includes pointing out our sins] in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

            And in Luke 17:3
            So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent [if they stop doing them and show that they're really sorry for their sin], forgive them.”

            Just because it’s in the scriptures we’re guilty of being legalistic. The Pharisees are legalistic because they find pleasure in pointing out other people’s sins. But Jesus is not legalistic because he does not find pleasure in doing that. Instead he looks on with compassion.

            I don’t rejoice when I see people sin, because I am a sinner myself and I know how bad it feels to sin. I just tell them that they’ve done something wrong, and I pray for them.

          • Bones

            It’s funny cos your sins don’t worry me.

            Mine do.

            But hey life goes on.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            A certain jewish rabbi, tells this odd little story about a 2 by 4 and a speck of dust. The point of the story was two-fold. Worry about your own extraction, and when you do, then you’ll discover how insignificant the other person’s eye irritation was compared to yours. In other words, deal with your own sins, its a enough of a task to keep you plenty busy.

          • Wilbert James Futalan

            That is also found in the Bible, and that is also a good point. Jesus said something very similar to that in one of the gospels. And that’s one danger in pointing out other people’s sins, that we do so to the point that we become blind to our own sins. (Similar to the Pharisees.) That’s why it helps to ask God if I am missing some dark spots, and sure enough I do. (Thanks for that reminder!)

            But there are sins that one cannot simply ignore especially when it causes other Christians to stumble.

            Anyway, a practical wisdom: it helps also to learn from other people’s mistakes.

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          • Eleen

            God loves her and all the more He wants her to obey His command to stop fornication. God is holy and righteous and He hates sins. He knows that fornication can leads to disastrous outcome such as unhealthy soul ties which could happen to Ruth should her unbelieving partner leave her. Remember, we are bought at a price. Our bodies belong to God. Therefore do not sin against God for our body is the temple of the holy spirit.

            His ways and thoughts are higher than us for us to comprehend. We can only trust God fully because everything He does is for our own good. If you love God, take up the cross and obey Jesus. Faith without work (action) is dead.

            How could you claim yourself to be a believer if you do not want to observe God’s command that a believer must not commit fornication. God may have forgive our past and present sins. But if you understand God’s character, you should know that He loves us not because we are lovable but He wants us to be lovable and to be more and more like Jesus for our own good and for His glory.

  • Gina H

    It is a very hard road to be in an initimate relationship with a nonbeliever if you are a Christian—at the end of the day, it is impossible for 2 people to stay together unless they changed together. That means one of 2 things will happen: 1) You cannot grow in your faith and holiness without leaving your spouse behind 2) You will leave your faith and God will become smaller and smaller in the life you build together. It’s hard, but sometimes it’s more rewarding to wait for the one that God has ordained for you. Sometimes you have to choose and make a very hard choice: your boyfriend/girlfriend, or GOD. I’ve had to stop myself from pursuing relationships with nonChristians because I know that in the future, I would found myself drifting away from God due to the relationship and there would be nothing but heartbreak in a relationship that is not centered around God’s mercy and grace.

    To the author, John Shore: I believe that the scripture you took from Corinthians is taken somewhat out of context. If you understand the period in which Paul is preaching to the Corinthians, it is a critical time in the history of the Church. News of Jesus is still spreading, so most people are non-Christians. Most probably, people who married before Jesus’ crucification are non-Christians. I think Paul is preaching to those who have recently converted and are debating whether to DIVORCE their non-Christian spouses. I honestly don’t think Paul would encourage a Christian single person to MARRY a non-Christian. Marriage is not for one’s happiness, but to glorify God. It’s the ultimate santification process.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      I disagree. Your spouse doesn’t define your faith, you do. Just as you don’t define theirs. As long as the two of you respect each other’s beliefs about God, accept that this is a place where you have differences of opinion, and keep things about your faith on a personal level, it can work and work beautifully.

      I’m living proof. He’s conservative southern Baptist, I’m liberal mystic. We compromise by attending a Methodist church, where I attend for the companionship, opportunity to help in community outreach and the music. If he insisted on attended the church of his chosen denomination, I of course would encourage it, but wouldn’t attend. Just as I wouldn’t expect him to venture as I do privately, studying and learning about the myriad of faiths as I discover God in so many unexpected places.

      We respect each other, and each other’s backgrounds too much.

      However if you are so wary of influences to your faith, or that it may grow and evolve thanks to a relationship with someone whose views are different, than sure stay within your faith. There are so many inter-faith couples, just as there are couples who are opposites politically, or personality, or physical abilities. A faith that can be that easily swayed, is either weak, or it needed changing anyway.

      • Gina H

        I didn’t say it was impossible or against God. I wrote, “It is a very hard road.” We all make our choices. Some roads are harder than others. If you feel convicted to travel a certain road, no one’s stopping you. I personally believe that if you are in prayerful communication with God, He will guide you always. You will know in your heart if your choices are pleasing or displeasing to God. That’s what we call discipline- training our hearts to listen to God.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          If a Muslim and a Buddhist, or a Christian and a Muslim, or a Taoist and a Buddhist, or a Wiccan and a Jew marry, their chances of success are just as strong as a marriage where two Christians are married…at at about 50%.

          Ironically divorce rates among conservative religious groups, tend to be higher than average..http://www.religionnews.com/2014/01/21/study-conservative-protestants-divorce-rates-spread-red-state-neighbors/..Makes one wonder if that religion aspect is as strong as assumed.

          • Gina H

            In our generation, more people are nominally religious or Easter Sunday church goers. Stats are always misleading or paint an incomplete picture. How many of those “Christians” were truly living a prayerful, godly life? We’ll never know.

            How strong of an influence religion plays in any relationship is dependent on how strong of a believer you are. For example, we can probably make the assumption that Pope Francis will most likely never marry because his faith and calling for celibacy is much much stronger than any lust or romantic ideation he may experience.

            But if you are a nominal Christian and you don’t really have any growing relationship with God, you’ll probably be able to justify dating just about anyone if he or she’s a “good” person.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Wait, a second here. You cannot judge the authenticity of anyone’s religious faith. You don’t have the ability or the authority. When people try to do that…and they are so very horrible at it,,,, its very arrogant, very prideful and very wrong.

            Pope Francis will never marry, because 1. He’s elderly, 2. He took a vow of celibacy. That has nothing to do with this topic being a diversionary tactic.

    • BarbaraR

      If both people have mutual respect for the other’s beliefs, it isn’t a problem. My husband is agnostic. I am Christian who is investigating Buddhism. To say there would be “nothing but heartbreak” in a marriage with a non-Christian may be true for you, but it certainly isn’t true for everyone. “Marriage is not for one’s happiness, but to glorify God” is not a statement I agree with whatsoever, but if it works for you, have at it.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        I have been delighted with some of the similarities I see between Buddhism and Christianity. I find it such a peaceful faith, and how I practice Christianity is very non-violent, so they are compatible to me.

        And yeah, the idea of “marriage to glorify God, and not for a couple’s happiness” Is a very foreign concept to me. I’ve heard it all my life, but it just doesn’t compute, NOR have I seen one marriage that would fit such a description.

        • Gina H

          Buddhism is not a religion, but more philosophy of life. Christianity is different from all other religions and philosophies because it is centered around God’s grace. Not karma or good works, but what Jesus has already done to atone for our sins.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Buddhism is very much a religion, just like Christianity is a philosophy of life. Other religions focus on divine grace, including Hinduism and Islam. One doesn’t have to look far to see the fallacy of that claim.

            Try again.

          • nadineharris

            Not a religion? Sorry, that’s simply ignorant. It certainly is.

      • Gina H

        As a seminary student, everything I wrote is biblical and scripturally based. Marriage as God defines it is a holy covenant between man and woman, one that reflects the holy covenant God made to the world through Jesus and the Church. It is not for our happiness, but for eternal joy that comes through blood and sacrifice. Happiness is a fleeting feeling, much like passion and lust.

        I believe that it would be impossible to have a *biblical* marriage with someone who doesn’t believe in Jesus. Sure, two people can still get married and sign a piece of paper, but spiritual intimacy through prayer, fasting, discipleship, growing in holiness, or possibly church planting would most likely be absent.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          You are a basing your theory on one way of looking at things, and there are more than one. That is your belief and no one is telling you to believe differently. But do understand that many of us see things differently, and have personal experience to the contrary.

          • Gina H

            Yes, I agree with you completely. But this is a Christian forum and I’m just trying to respond scripturally. I’m not making up my own theories or ideas. It’s all in the Bible.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            The range of Christian thought and practice ranges from Roman Catholic from which we all evolved, to Universalists. The thoughts about what the Bible has to say is as diverse as the 33,000 Protestant denominations on the planet.

            You merely represent one of a myriad of views.

        • BarbaraR

          There are many, many, many interpretations of what is Biblically and scripturally accurate. If your definition works for you, more power to you. But not everyone reads/interprets the Bible the same way, including within a marriage..

          I disagree with a great deal of what you’re saying so I wish you a happy life and hope that your path is the right one for you.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Just curious, where are you going to school?

    • Bones

      I’m not interested in what Paul says about marriage.

      Paul said in the beginning of the same chapter:

      “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.”

      Get that!

      It’s good not to have sex. Do you agree with that?

      Did God not create us and say we were very good?

      IS that God talking? Or leftovers from Paul’s Pharisaic/ Grecan philosophy influences?

      That’s what I think it is. The whole ‘human desires are evil’ belief has it’s roots in Greek philosophy.

      Then Paul goes on to say if you really have to then get married so Satan doesn’t get you and you have no self control.

      Hardly a modern western view of marriage.

      Paul didn’t encourage marriage, full stop!

      Marriage was a hindrance to him.

      And on this issue he is giving his opinion.

      Which is as relevant as Greek Philosophy.

      • Bones

        It’s interesting the way Christians have exchanged one Law for another.

        I doubt Paul thought he was writing Laws to be followed 2000 years later.

        • Gina H

          Paul makes the argument that it is ideal for Christians to commit themselves to celibacy SO THAT they have more time and energy to devote to worshiping God. He says, If you are married, you have so many more worries and life becomes much more complicated.

          You can’t just take one verse out of context. Paul also concedes that for most people, a life of celibacy is not possible. He says it’s better to marry than to be consumed by sexual desire outside of marriage.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Paul was, of course, writing personal letters, stating personal opinions, without a clue that three hundred years later, a group of religious people, would add his stuff into something called The Bible, giving his works, near equal status with the Torah and the Talmud and the later written gospels with statements from Jesus. I’d say he’d be quite shocked to learn of that.

          • Rob

            Bones I think you’re taking the verse out of context. The full verse actually says “Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.”

            Paul was writing to answer. There’s a major difference in understanding if you include the first part of the verse.

            Gina H I would agree with you on most points. Not your two outcomes of unequal yoking, but yea, most of the rest generally.

          • Bones

            Nice twist, Rob.

            Doesn’t work.

            Now concerning the things about which you wrote: “it is good for a man not to touch a woman.” 2 But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. 3 The husband must[a]fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wifedoes. 5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and[b]come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 But this I say by way of concession, not of command. 7 [c]Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that. 8 But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. 9 But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

            25 Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who [n]by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy. 26 I think then that this is good in view of the [o]present distress, that it is good for a man [p]to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife.28 But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have [q]trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you. 29 But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; 30 and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; 31 and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.

            32 But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33 but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,34 and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35 This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but [r]to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.

            36 But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she is past her youth, and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin; let [s]her marry. 37 But he who stands firm in his heart, [t]being under no constraint, but has authority [u]over his own will, and has decided this in his own heart, to keep his own virgindaughter, he will do well. 38 So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better.

            39 A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband [v]is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God.

            Oh if only NT Greek had quotation marks!

            Being single is good and the ideal.

            Get married if you can’t control your urges and your passions.

            I though marriage was about family and love? Isn’t that right traditionalists?

            Sensible marriage advice there. NOT!

            And it’s all Paul’s opinions in a missionary culture.

          • Bones

            Not quite sure what that Bible college is teaching you.

            Paul opens 1 Corinthians 7 with

            “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.”

            That is his fundamental position on sex and marriage right there.

            He has to concede that some can’t achieve this higher ideal.

            Does anyone think that is the God speaking through Paul?

      • Good

        I loathe Paul with a passion. He is a nerdy wordy narrow-minded twerp who effectively chucked out the spirit of Jesus and began again with a load of bullshite. If you compare his writings and the teachings of Jesus they have nothing in common.
        I read somewhere that it was no surprise Paul had been thrown in prison, as his writings were an abomination.

  • ChildofArtemis

    So if the non-believer has good morals and values that goes out the window because that person doesn’t follow Christ is very sad. I speak as a non-believer and we I have people trying to convert me or guys refusing to date me cause im not a christian hurts. Im a good person with so much to offer but it goes the window because your church and family don’t want you to marry a non christians its just sad to me – you can have a beautiful relationship with a good person but it gets thrown to the side.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Uhm, Not from where I sit.

      You aren’t going to marry a church, or your family, you would be marrying the guy or gal that makes your heart sing, and whom you can’t imagine not waking up next to for the next 30 to 60 years. She could sing in the choir at the local UMC church and you prefer the Quaker service, or you could prefer meditation and he the gym, or you could both love sleeping in and hitting the hiking trails to commune with divine by enjoying nature. He could be Hindu, you agnostic, or she Buddhist and you Catholic. What matters is mutual respect for each others beautiful individuality, spirituality, and personal emotional needs. Faith is more a personal matter than some would like us to believe.

      • Andy

        This.

        For some, not sharing faith is a dealbreaker. That’s fine for them. But for others, as you mentioned, it’s personal and hardly affects the relationship with their spouses. Different strokes for different folks. As long as each respects the other, a good marriage is possible (contingent upon other things too, of course).

  • Sherrie

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  • Kyle Matthew

    the logic is frustrating in that is assumes that a person who is “saved” is somehow automatically a good spouse or a better spouse. Arrogance. I think what really offends the church is when they see non-Christian couples having more solid relationships because it becomes more than doing the Christian things and less about being a good spouse. If you found a good partner who supports and uplifts you then you have found something special.

  • Anonymous

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  • Eleen

    marriage is also to glorify our father in heaven.

    The scripture commands a christian not to be yoked with unbelievers as it would draw the believer away from god. God designed marriage and He knows what makes a marriage work: a marriage that is built with God at the centre of the union could last. Believers who walk with God can love his/her spouse even when the believers do not like their spouse at times, such as in times of fighting etc.

    Sure, a believer can choose his/her life partner and marry an unbeliever. But he/she cannot choose the consequences of marrying an unbeliever. Meaning you can choose to put your hand in the fire but you can’t choose not to be burned by the fire.

    God give us the freewill to choose but we have to be responsible for our actions should a marriage with an unbeliever didn’t work out.

  • Scott Bela

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  • Good

    I have just ended a relationship with a Christian man. We had been dating, had got on well and been having an extremely compatible sex life for 2 years, but apparently his Christian friends objected. He was suggesting that we become celibate up until marriage, whenever that would be. Now to my mind this made no sense as we were perfectly healthy, had no physical problems, and if something wasn’t broken, I didn’t see why it should be meddled with. Moreover, this was exactly the same thing that happened in his first marriage. They did not get married for 10 years and for the following 16 years apparently had no sex either.
    To me this all just seemed like some method of control and he was also exhibiting a tendency to treat people like objects, as well as other narcissistic traits. He was also big on the special brand of two-facedness, snobbery, gossiping, lying and general backstabbing that I have come to expect from Christians. (For the record, I love Jesus but hate Paul.)
    In the end it descended into talking round in circles about the same old predictable shit like we needed to be saved from our sins, Jesus died for us, he thought he would go to hell if he had sex with me one more time and that he would miss out on eternal life, etc.etc. In the end I couldn’t take it any more, I effectively said, “Just.Go.You got what you wanted, now just go!’

    • Good

      In fact my parting sentence was “You made your bed of nails now see how you like it!”

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  • Renee

    I am a christian who married a nonchristian and we have been married for over 22 years. I met him in college and fell head over heals in love with him. I thought that in time I could lead him the Christ. He is a good man but our marriage has been extremely difficult. He has cheated on me 3 times, drinks too much and love strip clubs. He sees nothing wrong with them. We have two sons that are not Christian. He did not want me to teach them thay dogma so they have no religion. My marriage is a complete mess but I stay because I still somehow believe that he and my kids will be saved. He is very unhappy and lost looking for happiness and peace but just can’t find it. I still love him very much but if I had to do it over again I would have listened to my christian friends and pastor and not married a non christian. We are unequally yoked and hos heart is completely closed to ever accepting Christ. So many things we see so differently and God ia not the center of our life or marriage. Marriage is already hard enough but when you see everything so differently it is impossible. Now I go to church every Sunday and continue to pray for my marriage and kids. I somehow feel this is my punishment for disobeying God’s word. Think long and hard before you marry a nonchristian if you want God to be the center of your marriage.

    • Andy

      I’m sorry your marriage isn’t going well, but his cheating on you and drinking and frequenting strippers isn’t because he isn’t a Christian. Lots of Christians do those things, and lots of non-Christians don’t.

      I do hope you’ll reconsider thinking this punishment thing, though. I can’t promise you that it’s not the case that God is punishing you for marrying a non-Christian, because I don’t know. But if you ask a lot of people around here, I think many would tell you they don’t believe that, either. It’s easy to resort to that hoary “something bad happened to me; it must be divine punishment” thing, but there’s really no basis for that other than the fear of God put in us by people who either want to control others or don’t know any better. I do dumb things all the time. Sometimes bad things happen to me afterward, and sometimes they don’t. I see little correlation, personally.

      Remember, you could just as easily have married a Christian man that does the same things your husband does. Or maybe worse. Would it matter, then, whether or not God was the center of your marriage?

      • Renee

        Andy,

        Thanks very much. You made some good points and maybe I should focus on the positive. I have forgiven him and things are better so I need to just move on. Life is too short.

    • BarbaraR

      God is not punishing you for marrying a non-Christian. But I think you are punishing you for something you believe is your fault. It isn’t your fault that your husband is making bad choices that impact your marriage. There are plenty of Christians who do the exact same things your husband does.

      The problem here is not Christian versus non-Christian; it’s lack of respect and honoring your marriage. If he can do these things and you still are giving him a free ride without accountability, he will continue to do them. There is no reason for him to change.

      “My marriage is a complete mess but I stay because I still somehow believe that he and my kids will be saved.” Your husband and children will make their own decisions about religion. Despite what many churches tell you, it is not necessary for you to try to lead him to Christ. God really doesn’t need our help in that department. Staying in an unhappy marriage isn’t going to make any difference.

      • Renee

        Barbara,

        Thanks for your response and I definitely will give it a lot of thought and prayer.

    • Bones

      I have Christian friends whose marriages have busted.

      And that was over infidelity.

      Don’t think that Christian marriages are perfect.

      Their divorce rates are just as high as the rest of the population.

      • nadineharris

        Higher. :-(

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Honey, the problem with your marriage has nothing to do with your husband’s religion. It has to do with the fact that he is sexually unfaithful, has a drinking problem and has no respect for you. Him converting to Christianity is not going to make that go away, and there is a good chance he’ll still be a cheater and an alcahol addict. Trust me there are plenty in Christianity just like that. You do not need to stay in such a relationship where there is so little trust.
      Making religion the focal point of your marriage if both people do not agree going in to do so is just going to be an effort in futility and frustration. I’m a very liberal, mystic non-dogmatic person, who’s Christian label is only loosely applied. My second husband (because my first was a drunk, abusive and probably cheated on me at least once) is a conservative southern Baptist. Our religious, social views are polar opposites, but we have happy, peaceful

      • Renee

        I understand your point but I am not sure I agree totally. I will continue to pray about it and at some point I need to make a decision to stay or go even though I have left twice and returned out of guilt because of my kids. I wish there was a clear answer. Anyway I guess that is life.

    • Pablo South

      Dear sister, you are receiving advice from people who just call themselves Christians or want to have that “status” but when their lives are compare to the scriptures, they have nothing that reflects the word of God.. nothing that reflects the Christ that they so much professed. When God told Adam and Eve that “‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” Genesis 3:3.. they didn’t die right then when they ate the fruit, but because of their disobedience now they were separated from God; which in turn, their disobedience(sin) brought a lot of negative ripple effects that we still pay till today. I can’t deny that Sometimes I would like to things to flow in a different direction, more for me, but my desires and “good intentions” or “good heart” means nothing specifically when the scriptures are saying the opposite. Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”.. that’s because we are contaminated by sin; our perception is clouded to see beyond next year, or even tomorrow. The problems that you are facing now is mostly due to the lifestyle of disobedience that you have taken, but even then, still God has been merciful with you by granting you children and life. Throw yourself to Him in prayer and fasting and tell Him everything.. from where you messed up to how you would like Him to help you. Your request has to be specific to Him though. God will answer you but you must plead to Him… regardless if this takes weeks, months. It is like when a child is hungry, they go ask to the parents and they even put themselves to cry because they need food, and they dont leave until they get fed. You need God’s advice and help to heal your land.. you need to plead with fasting and prayer ASAP and go to church. God cares for you.

      This video will answer alot of your questions:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3YO1dJpvPE

      • Bones

        Using your parent analogy and the Adam and Eve one. As a loving parent I wouldn’t put a tree in my garden that causes death.

        Especially the death of all humanity.

        But I’m not God.

  • Mandy Divanna

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  • Leo Jennifer

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  • Henry Westwood

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  • Dumez Gracy

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  • Berry Logan

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  • Rene Smith

    I find this interesting as I am a Christian who feels ready for marriage. I was once many, many years ago in a relationship which was destructive and violent. I was not a Christian at that time and was very young. However, now as as a grown woman in her mid thirties, I feel that if you find a man Christian or not who truly loves you, respects and cares for you, helps and supports you and wants to marry you then you should pray, ask God for guidance and he will show you what to do. I know people who are married to non Christians and they have been so for decades. They are happy because they respect and crucially love each other. Some have even come to know Jesus through their spouse. I also know of Christians married to other Christians who are in dreadful, loveless relationships where they are treated badly, disrespected and desperate to divorce. Also know of Christian marriages that are wonderful. Personally, I think that as Christians we should take every decision to the Lord, wait and see what he shows us – and he will show us! Some Christian men are not these wonderful men people make them out to be, some do all types of terrible things in their marriage. So to make out that you will have this amazing relationship where you pray together, go to church etc is not always the case. I feel that as Jesus told us “Love one another as I have loved you” If God brings a man into your life who loves you, he will respect your decision to not have sex until you are married, he will respect your faith and through the grace of God he may even come to know the Lord through you. Maybe it will have been Gods plan… Personally, I will be taking my decision to God first and asking people their views second.

  • Scotty

    I am a Christian, married to a believer. I can not imagine that I could possibly have the same level of intimacy with a non- believer. Why would a Christian not want to share the joy of worshiping together, the sense of community from hanging out with like minded friends, the intimacy of praying together regularly, or the security of knowing that your spouse has a commitment to you that is not just based on a feeling, but on a greater commitment to pursue holiness? Of course we aren’t perfect, but when our marriage gets messy, like everyone else’s, my Christian spouse values faithfulness and forgiveness and is surrounded by other Christians who model the same.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      It really is not that cut and dried. I’m pretty much a unitarian married to a Southern Baptist. I compromise and attend a UMC church with him, as I won’t willingly regularly attend a SBC ever again. Our views on faith, and society are quite different, but we respect that we are opposites in so many ways. My husband and I simply stay out of each others’ way when it comes to our individual faiths.

      Faith to me is a very personal and highly private matter, something between me and God. I honestly don’t understand your phrase of “pursuing holiness”. I have no idea what that means.

      • Scotty

        I agree!! Marriage is never the same with any two couples. I hope I didn’t sound like I was putting you or anyone else down. By using the term “pursuing holiness”, I meant that my spouse is pursuing God and trying to become more like Jesus. That priority in our lives gives me the security of knowing that our marriage is based on a spiritual commitment that is stable, unlike our feelings. My faith is also highly personal and being able to visit those private, secret places with the person I am married to, in my opinion, is as intimate as any aspect of our marriage. It sounds like you and your husband have a good marriage too and have found a compromise that works. If you ever feel comfortable opening up to him, you might be surprised by the closeness you feel by just saying a prayer with him when you are struggling with something or reading a devotional together. Spiritual intimacy is a beautiful thing, but it does put you in a vulnerable position to allow even your husband into those private areas of your life, especially if you have a history of religious disagreements and have come to a place where you are comfortable. We don’t always agree on everything either and have some lively discussions, giving our relationship a depth that we couldn’t possibly achieve without a common respect for and commitment to our shared faith.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          oh, my husband is well aware of my views on faith, completely different from his. My religious history is vastly different than his, having moved through three different disciplines of Christianity, where he’s been in the same. We agree on there is a God, and a few tenets of religious mindset and behavior. That’s about it. I have no desire to make any more of it.

          • Jeff Preuss

            My partner of 18 years is an agnostic, and he respects and admires that I am passionate about my faith in God. We have many many shared values, even if they don’t have the same genesis (ha!)

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Shared values, no matter where they originate, do help make for a harmonious relationship.

    • nadineharris

      That’s great for you, Scotty. But that’s YOU. It’s obviously not true for others — particularly the letter writer. Or me, for instance. I was married to someone of a different faith for twenty marvelous years before he died. Why don’t you keep your narrow-minded opinions to yourself and bitch in private?

    • Guy Norred

      I do admit that it might be easier if my husband were a Christian in some ways, but truthfully, our values (including putting great importance on faithfulness and forgiveness) are very similar despite his agnosticism.

  • Katy

    I was 43 years old and getting married for the first time. I was raised in a Southern Baptist Church and was marrying a Jew. Of course that was enough in itself to ruffle quite a few feathers. It was important to both of us to get married in a religious ceremony celebrating both of our faiths. The first Baptist minister I asked to perform the ceremony flatly refused before I had barely gotten the question out of my mouth, as did the second. The third minister we asked was from a more liberal Baptist church (not Southern Baptist) and he readily agreed to perform the service. Then we asked a Rabbi, who was also a friend of ours, if he would also take part in the service and he too flat out refused. He actually refused to even attend the wedding since it was being held in a Christian church. All I could think of was how sad it was that here were two people who wanted their marriage blessed by God and everyone was being so judgmental about who believed what. We’ve been married now for almost 13 years and, while we have very different beliefs, we each have a respect for the other’s faith and have learned from each other. He goes to church with me when I go and I go to temple with him when he goes. It might not work for everyone, but it works for us.

  • Cesar Nevarez

    I find this article so funny. It’s crazy how as a christian (man or woman) you can be okay with even the idea that you yourself are going to a Heaven because you have Christ in your life but that your unsaved spouse will not. Do not be unequally yoked. The apostle Paul talks about it. Iron sharpens iron. You can’t truly fulfill the call and plan God has for you if your spouse isn’t on board and willing to follow Gods will. If you love someone and it’s God will then I believe they will get saved. But don’t set yourself up for failure. If your christian, be with a christian. Case closed.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      Yes, you seem like someone who takes a lot of pleasure in humor.

    • Bones

      Checked out the divorce rates for Christians yet?

    • BarbaraR

      Yes, people ridiculed and hounded over who they love has always been a real knee-slapper.

    • Jeff Preuss

      Case closed? Um, no. It’s not, simply because you say it is. Or say that God says it is.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Its amazing that people will go through the process to open a Disqus account just to say stuff like that.

    • WilmRoget

      It is kinda crazy the way people come to a progressive Christian site, and proceed to use theological points from modern american fundamentalist televised christianity as if they are universally relevant here.

      “Iron sharpens iron.”

      Other things will sharpen iron as well – anything harder than iron. Industrial grade diamonds, for example, will do a fine job of sharpening iron or steel.

  • Pablo South

    I must admit that when i find a very beautiful woman, who is not Christian, that likes me and wants to be with me, i indirectly or directly dislike the Christian principle of “unequally yoked”. But Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter of how I perceive or try to accommodate my desires to cover the true and lasting principles of the bible, because God has been here for thousands of years, He has seen countless marriage scenarios and He knows better than I do… my opinions or emotions have no validity when the scriptures clearly says the opposite. BTW the argument of this article about Paul’s statement of ” an unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband”.. is referring when the non believing couples marries, then one of them finds Christ and therefore his/her spouse will be sanctified. And by reading this article, I find this writer to have no wisdom about the word of God.. i wouldn’t be surprise that he is not christian neither because his advise contradicts the scriptures.

    Please see this video for further proof:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1tVTOUTCN4


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