How can it be wrong? This is then often backed up by a flurry of other comments: But the temptation to get romantically involved with a non-Christian tends to be framed differently. In this article, I shall not be trying to give a method for counseling people who are facing such a temptation. Such an article would include a clearer picture of what marriage looks like: All of this is compounded when you and your spouse are living for different things. To explore some of those things better, consider this article.
Rather, I shall offer a brief biblical theology of dating unbelievers. I want to make the point that it is a matter of obedience to God not to pursue a relationship with a non-believer. And just to be clear: Furthermore, a proof-text for not dating a non-Christian is a strange thing to expect for a few reasons. Now, I hope to demonstrate how clearly the Bible says it is sinful for a believer to marry a non-believer.
Practically speaking, this impinges on every single decision you have to make as a married couple. For example, how do you decide what you should do at any point in your life?
For the Christian, number 1 trumps number 2 and 3. For the non-Christian, there is only 2 and 3. Genesis 2 fleshes this out more. Therefore, marriage is a partnership. God did not create man alone to be competent to fulfill his calling to image God.
He created man and woman in relationship to do that. So, in a Christian marriage, marriage is a partnership in the gospel. Conversely, marrying a non-Christian necessarily makes marriage a partnership in something else. Why would a Christian choose to enter such a partnership? Marriage is harmed by sin. Genesis 3 shows how us how marriage gets messed up by sin. Adam and Eve go from naked and unashamed to hiding from one another.
In the curse, God pronounces how marriage post-Fall is a battle of one sinful will against another: Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you. When marrying a non-Christian, you lose out on the blessing of having a spouse who calls you to submit your will to Christ, and instead have a spouse who has no interest in being called to submit their own will to Christ.
In the rest of Genesis, we see a huge effort made to ensure the people of God would only marry those who trust the Lord.
To intermarry with this town rather than distance themselves from such defilement would have been the ultimate compromise; it would have destroyed the people of God in the first generation. In the conquest of Canaan, the Lord gives strict prohibitions against intermarriage: Do not intermarry with them. Intermarriage is also the downfall of kings: On the other hand, if a foreigner was already converted, then there was absolutely no prohibition against marrying them.
In fact, this is seen as a positive Zipporah, Rahab, Ruth. Old Testament positively pictures believing marriages. Positively, Proverbs 31 calls the young man to look out for a woman of noble character. The climax of the poem, and the source of everything noble about her, is reached in verse What is it that would most attract you to a potential spouse: With a non-Christian, there can only be there first two: He provides and protects; she trusts and takes godly initiative.
In the New Testament, there are a number of asides that make it clear this Old Testament prohibition still stands. A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? This suggests that having an unbelieving wife would at least disqualify from ministry. If you ever aspired to be an elder in a church, then this would disqualify you.
Those who demand New Testament evidence for the prohibition of intermarriage with unbelievers will find these texts. A clearer positive vision for marriage revealed in the New Testament. The New Testament then gives a clearer revelation of marriage: The whole point of marriage is to picture the gospel Eph. Beyond that, it pictures the very relationship between the Father and the Son 1 Cor. To marry a non-believer is like two artists trying to paint two different pictures on the same canvas.
Or, to take a musical analogy, it would be a partnership where one person is trying to sing one song, and the other is trying to sing an entirely different one. Jesus tells us in John More articles tagged as: