Marriage between a Christian and Non-Christian

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Bible Believing Bill, Jun 18, 2007.

  1. Bible Believing Bill

    Bible Believing Bill
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    I would like to examine the fact that PastorSBC303 (and others) would not marry a Christian to a Non-Christian.

    First of all are we defining a Christian as a Born Again Believer, or as someone who acknowledges Christ, but isn't Born Again. When I got married I fell into that second catagory. I would have called myself a Christian, but now I know I wasn't at that time. My wife was a Born Again Believer when we were married, however she will admit she was a baby Christian.

    The Pastor of my wife's church would not marry us because she was saved and I was not. We found a Pastor who would perform the creamony and were married. So what happened?

    Well Jeanne went from a baby Christian who was attending church, studying her bible, praying, etc. to someone who occasionally went to chruch and didn't do much else. Me I stayed just like I was. I didn't discourage Jeanne from going to church. I told her to go if she wanted, but I would not be going. As a new bride she stayed home with me.

    Fast foward 9 1/2 years and the birth of our daughter. Jeanne's best friend was babysitting our son, and she and her family were attending church. Jeanne came to realize that her kids needed to be raised in chruch and she began attending again. I still stayed home.

    Over the next 2 1/2 years Jeanne became a much stronger Christian than she had ever been and really began serving the Lord. Me, I went to chruch on Christmas, Easter, and if there was something special for the Kids because Jeanne made a fuss if I didn't. When I wasn't paying attention to what she was doing Jeanne would ask me questions about the bible verses she was studying, invite her friends from chruch over, etc. By the end of this period I was thinking about salvation and where I would be for eternity. Finally 10 years and almost 11 months after we were married I became a Born Again Believer.

    Would I have accepted the Lord sooner if we hadn't found someone willing to marry us? If we had to wait until I was saved to be married would Jeanne have stayed in chruch for the those first 9 1/2 years of our marriage? As a Non-Christian would I have waited, or would I have gone away? This side of Heaven there is no way to know for sure, but it is certianlly some food for thought.


    Bill :godisgood:
     
  2. pinoybaptist

    pinoybaptist
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    Several things I can say about your post, and this with no disrespect or anything of that sort and stripe.
    One, we cannot judge everything according to our experience.
    What had been true with you, will not necessarily be true of others, and vice-versa.
    Suffice to say on that regard that I believe from the very beginning both you (and I say this only according to what I heard and read from you) and your wife, or one of you, at the very least, were children of God from the very beginning.
    Which brings me to the second thing.
    What is a Christian ?
    On what basis could we ever say that one were truly a Christian ?

    A Christian is one who belongs to Christ, and belongs to Christ not on the basis of what that person did, but on the basis of what the God of Heaven determined for that person, and on the basis that Christ redeemed that person unto Himself, and therefore belongs to Him.

    So, who am I to say I shall not marry you because one of you is not a Christian (this now in reference to Pastor SBC etc). Rather I should be more succinct and say, "I cannot get you folks married because one of you is not a practicing Christian", which is more to the point of how the world, and most churches and pastors, think of what a Christian is: neither smokes nor drinks nor gambles, reads the Bible regularly, a permanent and regular churchgoer, tithers, law-abiding, conservative for the most part, etc., etc., etc".

    So, how does one know the other partner in the union is not a Christian, as in one bought by the blood of the Eternal Son because that is His will, and one whom the Shepherd has always regarded as His sheep from before the foundation of the world ?

    Answer.

    One does not know. Why then should I be so harsh as to say, "I do not marry a Christian to a non-Christian". Perhaps one should say then, "I do not marry a Baptist to a Catholic, or I do not marry Mormons to Baptists, or Southern Baptists to American Baptists or Bible Baptists to Primitive Baptists".

    And extend that a little bit more to funerals.

    I am sorry, but I do not preach at non-Christians' funerals.

    Of course, the good pastor is basing his theology on, perhaps, 2 Corinthians 6:14, as most do, and many on this board do, but even the interpretation of that passage is subject to debate by others.

    Perhaps, also, the good pastor refers only to those who are part of his flock, or the church he pastors, in which case he is very well within his rights, being the undershepherd for that flock, and therefore, according to his interpretation, he will be responsible to the chief shepherd, and so, if a member of his congregation wishes him to marry him/her to a non-member of his congregation (and so one whose devotion to the Lord is suspect to him) then he is well within his rights to refuse to marry them.

    I would marry folks, and if they are not both members of my congregation, then I shall perhaps stay within the "civil aspect" of the marriage, not necessarily invoking the Lord's blessings, but rather speaking from the Bible about what marriage is all about from the Scriptural perspective, and then pronouncing them man and wife by virtue of the authority vested on me by the state.

    FWIW.
     
  3. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
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    Bill, I am glad that your situation worked out the way it did. God is in complete control and He brought about His will and plan for your life.

    My mother and father were in the same situation for many years. My father did not come to know the Lord until he was over 60. So I do understand this situation.

    However, just because these situations worked out that way does not mean that I should change my thoughts on standards for marriage. I still do not believe that Biblically speaking I should marry a Christian and a non-Christian with the hope that the one will eventally come to know the Lord.

    From my experience more times than not the non-Christian ends up staying that way and causing the believer in the relationship to struggle and eventually pull out of church and stop growing in their relationship with the Lord. Because of that I would say your situation and my parents situation are the exception and not the norm.

    But again, I praise the Lord with you that your situation worked out the way it did! God is good to us even when we do not deserve it!
     
  4. Bible Believing Bill

    Bible Believing Bill
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    This is what I have been told, and wittnessed myself after I became Born Again. Jeanne and I became dangerously close to that ourselves, remember she was out of church for 9 1/2 years. At the time of our marriage I thought it was just a silly ultra-conservative thought from one particular pastor. Now I realize that he was looking out for his flock. What really bothers me the most however is the fact If Jeanne had said she wouldn't marry me because I wasn't Born Again then I don't know what I would have done. If I had walked away where would I be today?

    I gave our example to show where I am comming from not necessarly to say that is how it would be for everyone. I have seen many instances of one believer being in church and then being pulled away by their unbelieving spouse for the sake of family harmony.

    In the end I can and do respect both ends of the spectrum in this area. Since it worked out for me I can't say that any Pastor was wrong to marry us, or anyone else in a similar situation. That does not mean that it would be right in all couples, therefore I also can not say any Pastor would have been wrong not to marry us. Just as we can never know someone elses commitment to God we can know their commitment to their prosepctive spouse.

    I guess I take the middle ground in that I belive it should be a personal decision between the people getting married provided they go into it with their eyes wide open as to what can and most likely will happen.

    For those Pastors who would perform the marriage as part of your counseling with the couple do you discuss the dangers if a Christian marrying a Non-Christian?

    Bill :godisgood:
     
  5. pinoybaptist

    pinoybaptist
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    If you will allow a second answer from me, then, no, during counselling and both soon-to-be-spouses are present, where one is a non-practicing Christian, or non-professing Christian, I do not go along those lines out of deference to the other party's sensibilities.

    I would dwell mostly on the duties of one another to each other, to their children, and to society, from a Scriptural standpoint.

    In private I will speak to the practicing or professing Christian, and tell him/her of the pitfalls of such a marriage, and the unfairness of such a marriage both to him/her and to the other party.

    Having said that, the marriage goes on.
     
  6. gb93433

    gb93433
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    A genuine Christian is someone who follows Jesus Christ. The Bible says the demons believe and shudder, but they are not following Jesus. Many acknowledge Christ but do not follow him.
     
  7. mcdirector

    mcdirector
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    Let me ask another question. Who is to be the spiritual head of a home in those years when the wife knows the Lord and the husband doesn't? How is she to submit her husband who can't love her as Christ loves the church because he doesn't know Christ? Who has to take on the responsibility of spiritual leadership?

    It throws the whole thing impossibly out of whack. As Pastor said, it occassionally it works out, but other scenarios rise up:

    You get a wife who learns to take the spiritual lead strongly out of necessity. What happens when the husband becomes a Christian? He either cannot gain control or there is a possible power struggle. Maybe not, but that scenario is set up.

    Sometimes the husband berates the wife who tries to serve. I've seen this happen way too many times. Or the wife takes the kids to church and the husband goes off golfing which looks like tons of fun. What do the boys learn? What do the girls learn?

    The scenarios are endless.

    I've known pastors who would marry anyone because they felt that the couple would just keep going until they found someone else who would do the job or that the couple might just live together. Consider however that you ran into obsticle after obsticle - prayerfully pastor after pastor said, I'm sorry but I can't marry you because . . . AND each of those men prayed for your salvation. Suppose one of them was pesky about getting you into church because God placed you on his heart. It might not have been 9 1/2 years.
     
    #7 mcdirector, Jun 19, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2007
  8. gb93433

    gb93433
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    He role is not dependent upon his role. Her role is outlined 1 Peter 3 if she has unbelieving husband.

    Pastors have sold the church a myth teaching that it is easy for a wife to submit herself to her husband if he loves her. That is like saying it was easy for Judas to submit to Jesus. If that were the case then it would not be necessary to teach that she is to love her husband by submitting herself to him.
     
  9. mcdirector

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    You are right. But please do not blame my pastor (actually pastors ;) ) for my fault here. I take responsibility. My focus was scripturally narrow.

    My points (taken in whole) are that the whole thing works together better when the whole thing is taken together in proper order.

    I happen to know I had to learn to submit. I've been quite fiesty. I started out fiestier. (I actually believe rebellious would be more in order!)
     
  10. gb93433

    gb93433
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    It seems like all of us are selfish and learn to become selfless as we grow.
     
  11. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    I marry about 50 couples a year. About half as "pastor" and have as acting "Justice of the Peace" (our county has none so they ask me to fill in)

    I will gladly marry to believers (testimony/life showing regeneration). I will marry two non-believers (it is better for our society as a whole to uphold the sanctity of the home/family).

    I make no distinction if they have children, are living together, etc. IF they desire to do right, will go through counseling with me (where the Gospel in word and on our worksheets is presented), I will marry them.

    Ethnic (what ignorant people call "race") differences bother me and I warn a couple of pitfalls in society, but still wil marry them.

    I will not, however, marry a believer and a non-believer. The yoking and oneness of marriage is so defiled by such a union that I opt not to be part of it.
     
  12. Bible Believing Bill

    Bible Believing Bill
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    Dr. Bob,

    In your role as Justice of the Peace do you have a choice of who you marry? I would think as long as they followed the law then the Justice of the Peace would be obligated to marry them.

    Bill
     

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