Pastors, would you exercise church discipline regarding an unequally yoked wedding?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Joe, Sep 17, 2007.

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Pastors would you exercise church discipline against a member marrying an unbeliever?

Poll closed Sep 20, 2007.
  1. Yes, I would

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  2. No, I would not.

    15 vote(s)
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  1. Joe

    Joe
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    This is a private poll for current and retired Pastors, or Pastors in training.
    Would you exercise church discipline against a believer marrying an unbeliever?

    This is in reference to this bible verse-
    Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)


    Blessings,


    Joe
     
    #1 Joe, Sep 17, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 17, 2007
  2. exscentric

    exscentric
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    Church discipline is to care for someone that is in sin isn't it? If this is correct ain't yer cart afore yer horse? :laugh:
     
  3. tinytim

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    The purpose of church discipline is reconciliation.. to show the offending party how serious his or her sin is...

    Now, if a church member (assumedly saved) gets married to an unbeliever... What would have to be done to reconcile that person to the church body?

    Divorce from the unbeliever? So we would then condone one sin above another...

    Wait until the unbeliever gets saved? Then the reconciliation would depend upon another person...not the one that committed the sin.

    A written apology for getting married? Yeah.. I see that happening.. might as well ask for the divorce now!

    A written statement that they will not have sex until the unbeliever gets saved? uh huh~ sure... "not tonight honey, you haven't been saved yet" Besides who is going to police this one...

    The only way possible is to let them know it was wrong, but you will love and pray for them, and pray that the unbeliever will be saved.

    Sometimes, we want to act, when the Lord is saying, "Move over and let me at em"

    Pray, wait, and have patience...
    And above all realize that not everyone is as perfect as you are...

    If we discipline for every sin, the church would be empty...

    Which one of you are perfect?
     
  4. LeBuick

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    Curious, a Christian should refuse or detest being associated with evil of any kind. Christ calls for us to be separated or removed from the world that we don’t become contaminated or tempted by immoral and non-Christian practices. Paul illustrates this with an analogy strait from the plow field and says just as you wouldn’t yoke an ox with a mule Christians shouldn’t desire to be yoked with a non-believer.

    A marriage in this order cannot have unity in the most important issue in life, commitment and obedience to God. Because marriage involves two people becoming one, faith may become an issue, and one spouse may have to compromise beliefs for the sake of unity. We shouldn’t allow emotion or passion to blind us to the ultimate importance of marrying someone with whom we can be united spiritually.

    Having said this, the Christian in this union is so in love with a non-believer they are considering marriage. What does this say about the Christian? What does this say about the life they live outside of the Church? Is this non-believer so good that a Christian would desire to spend the rest of their days being yoked to them?

    So the more I pondered this, I thought to compare it to 1 Cor 5… What do you think, does this compare?

    1Co 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.
    2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
    3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
    4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
    6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
    7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
    8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
    9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
    10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
    11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
    12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
    13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

    Thoughts?
     
  5. Joe

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    Correct me if I am wrong, but are you equating an unbeliever to the actual act of sexual immorality? An act you referred to as evil. IMHO, it's almost as if you are calling this unbeliever evil with that comparison.
    The divorce rate for Christians, according to a Barna poll is higher to that of the secular population so I wouldn't be surprised if fornication is also higher or equal to the secular population. In our town, it seems almost a fact that the Non-Christians live a more Christlike life than the Christians. Overall, the non-Christians living here are more stable than the Christians.

    True possibly but around our area, marrying Christians is compromising beliefs as they are more liberal than the non-christians. It is sad in this arrangement they cannot have this type of unity to share in a relationship with the Lord. I agree with you 100% on this.

    He is still a Christian just like you even if he loves a Non-Christian. IMHO, questioning his walk with the Lord is not fair. It certainly is likely this non-christian woman is so good that he passed up Christians. She won his favor.

    1 Cor, 5 is speaking of sexual immorality in the church. This couple is planning to getting married, not shack up.


    Blessings,

    Joe
     
    #5 Joe, Sep 18, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 18, 2007
  6. Joe

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    Thank you Tim for explaining church discipline. I agree with your post 100%
     
  7. LeBuick

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    My attempt or logic was to equate sin or anything contrary to the Word of God on an equal playing field. I further used the biblical measurement of one way to be righteous, which is to have it imputed by your faith in Christ. Anything or anyone not righteous (an unbeliever) is left with one category, evil. Are you suggesting there is a third category?

    This leaves us one true question, is not being unequally yoked a command or suggestion for good Christian living?

    If a command, like fornication in 1 Cor 5 it must be dealt with as such. So yes, if it is a command then I would place unequally yoked on the same level as fornication. If suggestion then we should advise the believer with reconciliation in our tone and let it go at that.

    I also agree with Tiny that reconciliation is the basis for Church discipline. I mentioned 1 Cor 5 specifically because Paul indicates there is a time to protect the rest of the flock by expulsion of the “leaven”. I admit, that is a thin line but at what point does one cross it?
     
  8. LeBuick

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    By the way, I agree with this 100%. Don't confuse my attempt at devils advocate as agreeance with the extreme, I believe a Christian will fall down and it is our job to help them get up, brush them off and encourage them to keep faith in the Lord.
     
  9. standingfirminChrist

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    Paul gave a command that the believer is not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. This is a clear command not to marry them.

    But he states in the previous Epistle:

    1 Corinthians 7:14 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.


    So Paul must have been allowing those previously married to unbelievers in the fellowship, but he was not condoning the marriage to the point that he himself would join two opposites in the faith.
     
  10. Joe

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    IMHO, you're intending to label an unbeliever as sinful by equating immorality into the mix doesn't fly since both can commit this sin and carry that label. The playing field is equal in that sense, ok.

    To restate your sentence more clearly "anyone who is not righteous is left with one category, sin".
    Again, if you are calling an unbeliever sinful, you must do the same for the believer. Sadly, the unrepentant believer may not have their sins washed in the blood if they don't repent. I have a lot of Non-Christian friends I expect to see in heaven as they live very Christlike. My Christian friends are also.

     
    #10 Joe, Sep 18, 2007
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  11. Joe

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    SFIC, Your twisting scripture right before my eyes. Why? Is the command not to marry them in your pocket with your mouse? :D

    I agree we are to marry believers even though there is no clear command. All scriptures offered appear to indicate as such.

    Agreed :) Knowing Paul was a Missionary, he almost needed to marry a Christian. An unbeliever wouldn't understand as well his reasons for being gone all the time, this would likely cause conflict.
     
    #11 Joe, Sep 18, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 18, 2007
  12. Gershom

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    No. I would counsel them, but would not expel them from fellowship.
     
  13. standingfirminChrist

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    No, I am not twisting Scripture. The Scripture says "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"

    Paul is saying not to be come under a different yoke with unbelievers. Just as a farmer would not hitch a mule and an ox side by side, Paul says an unbeliever and a believer do not need to be together in union.. The word
    heterozugeo is the Greek word for the phrase "unequally yoked together". It is comprised of two words

    heteros meaning "other or different"
    and
    zugos meaning "joined; a coupling"

    It is quite obvious that those that are married are joined together, coupled. Paul states be not joined together with unbelievers.
     
  14. TCGreek

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    An approach to such delicate, controversial matter calls for a proper understanding of Scripture and then consistency in application, whatever the pastor and the local church decides.
     
  15. Joe

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    Yeah, I believe that would be an actual command not to marry an unbeliever SFIC. You nailed it :thumbs:

    It appears Pastors could exercise church discipline with this simple and clear command. Yet, imho, the wisdom of it is another story. I believe Pastors would have to exercise church discipline for other small sins like gluttony to remain consistent. A can of worms opened up where anyone can be a target for any little sin. Thank God for our church.
     
    #15 Joe, Sep 18, 2007
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  16. pocadots1990

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    I have a lady whose husband is unsaved. If I would exercise church discipline on her then that will turn the husband evan further away from the Lord. Also, I have two other ladies whose husbands are saved but not right with the Lord. Does that mean I need to exercise church discipline on them? No.

    I Peter 3 tells the women to have a quiet testimony so that their husbands can see Christ in them.

    tinytim, I agree whole heartedly with your post.
     
  17. LeBuick

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    This was the essence of the extreme I introduced. I think this also aligns with TCGreek comment (I don’t want to speak for him).

    The wisdom of it. Scripture is God’s gift to man. Understanding and applying God’s word in our everyday life is wisdom at its maximum. If I may ask the question, why is this verse in scripture? How do we apply it equally or consistent with all other scripture? How do we balance our obligation to this verse with our greater obligation of reconciliation?

    Now Joe, you made this statement which I believe gives us insight to your position;

    This explains why you didn’t equate an unbeliever with sinner or evil. Do you think this carries into our interpretation of when Church discipline is necessary?
     
  18. pinoybaptist

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    As somebody already asked and pointed out in another thread:

    How is that Scripture a command concerning marriage ?

    Please stay within context.

    The entire Scripture from which this verse was lifted out of context by pastors who want to meddle in the personal lives of their members concern not marriage but joining in idolatrous worship with unbelievers, walking in spiritual communion with children of darkness, and not marriage.

    It concerns conformance with and approval of the unbelievers' way of life, way of thinking, and in walking in accordance with the steps of the unbeliever.

    Imposing church discipline on a church member who falls in love with and marries one who is not a professing Christian and not a member of the church is ridiculous for reasons already pointed out by Tiny Tim.

    I disdain pastors who meddle with the personal lives of their members as if members must seek their approval first, and as if the homes of members were an extension of the church and the pulpit.

    I once told my pastor to get out of my house and never come back when he scolded my wife in front of me for having her hair cut short even after my wife explained that she fell asleep in the parlor chair and woke up with her hair already cut short.

    The pastor's job is to open the Bible and read the Scripture and say, thus saith the Lord.

    The rest is between the believer and his/her God.
     
  19. jshurley04

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    Judiazier Mentality

    Sure I would if I were a spiritually immature legalist that did not understand the love of God but only understood his own personal opinions. This is a non-issue in the grand scheme of things. I have a man saved this spring out of a life of drugs and homosexuality that takes far more precidence over these little non-issues. In fact this same man is being drawn by his family away from the church because he has gotten saved enough to be okay to be around again.

    In fact, when you think about it, any sin we commit, we yoke ourselves together with unbelievers because they are creatures of sin and children of Satan. Since we are Children of the LIght, when we sin we voluntarily identify with the children of Satan. We become bound together in consequences (earthly only) with the unsaved and are therefore yoked together with them because of our sin.

    Ultimately it sounds as if you are trying to justify some kind of action or inaction. Live for God, stay focused on Him, live our His purpose for your life and leave the rest to the Holy Spirit.

    Maybe this whole line of thought in my post is out there maybe not. I welcome the response.
     
  20. Joe

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    Only he knows why it is in scripture. IMHO, the Lord is telling us to ensure that half or more of our friends are believers. Sometimes unbelievers can draw us further from God, since that is not something shared. We just try to apply it equally to be consistent with other scriptures. We do this differently yet hopefully, it always include Prayer :)
    It probably plays into it.
    Example: If one lives in the getto or a lower income neighborhood, the unbelievers could be gang members. There will be a distinct difference between Christians and non-Christians. I live in the California Foothills. Most everyone is college educated, middle to upper class home owners, hold good jobs, and adhere to fairly conservative values. The unbelievers blend in well with the believers. Often you can be with them at the local Chamber of Commerce, in an organization etc.. and it will take a while to know who is Christian. It's hard to tell the difference.
    There is nothing to be reconciled. This couple is very reconcilled with each other and with the Lord upon consumation of the marriage. Pre-counseling by a Pastor seems necessary, to ensure their differing beliefs will not cause division.

    Christ says somewhere in the bible blessed are those that believe and have not seen. So there are people God has chosen not to reveal himself to as of yet, maybe he hasn't opened their hearts yet. When we love our unbelieving friends just as our believing friends, this gives their walk a greater chance to blossom. And we are blessed in the process. :)
     

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