Is It Lawful To Marry Unbelievers?

There is another question proposed, namely, “Does a believer commit sin in marrying an unbeliever?” What is sin? Paul says, “It is the transgression of law;” but it is also written, that “where there is no law there is no transgression.” Paul delivers a judgment which he thinks would be approved by the Deity; and no doubt it would. But he does not lay it down as a law. He says, a widow is at liberty to marry “only in the Lord,“ but he does not threaten her with any penalty if she did not take his advice. And, as Paul prescribed no punishment, I see no reason why you should be more stringent than the apostle. Offer your advice as he did; show the possible evils that might come upon her in so marrying, if she take your advice, it is well; if not, so much the worse for her, perhaps; yet, you have done what you considered right; more than this should be left for the Lord’s adjudication when he comes.

But the question; “Doth the believer commit sin in marrying an unbeliever?” is too vague for a direct affirmative or negative reply. There were some in Paul’s day, as in ours, who believed “the truth as it is in Jesus,” but who, from various considerations, did not obey it. Might an obedient believer marry such a believer? If she married such a believer, would Paul have turned her over to cursing, and have ordered a majority of babes in Christ, under a threat of his displeasure, to turn her out of the church? or, in the event that such a majority could not be created, would he have turned mulish, kicked up his heels, and galloped off with Sosthenes and Titus, to break a factious loaf in solitude? Would he have acted in this arbitrary, unseemly, and mulish fashion, and have thus determined his future to his beloved sons in Corinth? I am certain he would have done no such thing, as is apparent from the evidence of his whole letter, bearing on the case of that great criminal who had his father’s wife; and if incest did not drive him into non-fellowship, how can brethren of Christ justify themselves in dividing, or, perhaps, breaking up the ecclesia, or withdrawing themselves from its ordinances, not because a sister had “sinned,” but because she said she was going to do what, perhaps, you have all done before her!! Brethren, this is mere child’s play; it is converting the ordinances of Christ into mere playthings, for the sport of those who think and act as children of the flesh—a course of conduct infinitely more sinful and reprehensible than a brother or a sister marrying one who might even be an idolater. I say, than an idolater; for Paul commanded his brethren and sisters, if married to such an one, not to seek divorce, but to remain peacefully “in the same calling wherein they were called;” or “if bound to a wife, not to seek to be loosed;” for their remaining together legitimized their children, and, consequently, their own union, (1 Corinthians 7:14;) and might result in saving the worshipper of idols, or the Jew, as the case might be.

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Author: John Thomas

Keywords: Alien, Intermarriage, Marriage, Dating, Marrying outside faith, Marrying in the Lord, Marrying an unbeliever, Dating an unbeliever, Unequally yoked, Courtship, Choosing a mate, Choosing a spouse, Marrying, Marrying non-Christians, Marrying outside the Lord, Marriage in the Lord, Marrying another Christian, Christian marriage, Marrying a Christian, Equally yoked

Bible reference(s): Exodus 34:16, Leviticus 19:19, Deuteronomy 7:3, Ezra 9:1-2, Ezra 9:12, Ezra 10:19, Nehemiah 13:1, Nehemiah 13:23-26, Psalm 106:35, Malachi 2:11, 1 Corinthians 7:39, 1 Corinthians 15:33, 2 Corinthians 6:14, James 4:4

Source: The Ambassador of the Coming Age, 1866, pp. 91-97.

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