Is it ok to date or marry a non-Christian?
Christians are called to be radically different to the rest of the world.
Christians are called to be different
You may not be old enough to be thinking seriously about marriage just yet, but you might be thinking about dating. The advice below applies equally to daters, as to those thinking of getting married.
The Bible teaches us that as Christians, we have freedom in Christ (Galatians 5:1). This freedom, that Jesus so dearly bought for us, is freedom from slavery to sin and death. We are now free to live as God in his infinite wisdom, intends. So what kind of life are we to live?
- We need to live as children of God (Philipians 2:15).
- We are called to put off our old selves (Ephesians 4:22)
- We are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbours as ourselves (Mark 12:30)
- We are to be living sacrifices, not conforming to this world, but discerning what is the will of God (Romans 12:1-2)
- We need to walk in the light (Ephesians 5:8, 1John 1:5-7).
What's wrong with marrying a non-Christian?
If your potential partner doesn't believe in God, or doesn't have any firm beliefs about God, then are you sure they are a good match for you?
Marriage is intended to be a relationship of oneness between two people (Genesis 2:23,24). However, it's not just 'any two people', it's two people who are intimate companions, complementing each other and encouraging each other as they work together toward the same goal.
When a Christian marries an agnostic, or anyone non-Christian, this unity of purpose and direction is simply not possible. Why? Because that which is fundamental and central to the Christian person’s life is not fundamental and central to the non-Christian’s life. It is being 'unequally joined' (2 Corinthians 6:14) and can even become the cause for the Christian to fall away (2 Peter 3:17).
Imagine how many compromises would have to be made in all areas of your marriage! For example, how you spend your time, money and energy. Raising children would be especially difficult, because whose world view would you choose, and would the other person support it?
For a couple to be growing in the same direction, they need to have their foundations the same. For a marriage to work as God intends, both husband and wife need to have their foundations resting firmly on Christ. Perhaps the most clear directive (though speaking to widows) is in 1 Corinthians 7:39 - marry “only in the Lord”.
This advice might be hard to take, but keep resting in God’s word and in His love, trusting that His way is what is best for you.
This article adapted from a Q&A from www.christianity.net.au.