Vol.VIII No.XII Pg.7
February 1972

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Dear bro. Turner:

Should a Christian abstain from marriage to a non-Christian if it is offensive to their brethren? L.L.


The above question, word for word, came through the mail. If it means what it says, the querist is a most unusual person — on two counts. One who would determine a marriage by the effect it may have on the brethren — I have never before heard of that; and then, one who seems to attach greater significance to the feelings of the brethren than to the effect such a marriage could have upon their own immortal soul. This surely deserves attention.

Causing a brother to offend (in 1 Cor. 8:13, K. J.) refers to doing something that would lead a brother to sin. (stumble A.S.) It does not refer to the brothers feelings, nor does it justify babying a brother who wears his feelings on his sleeve. We should consider peoples feelings, but this passage has a different aim. It was not wrong, per se, to eat the meat under consideration in 1 Cor. 8.:, but if eaten as having joint- participation with idol worshippers, it was very wrong. (1 Cor. 10:14-31) So, brethren were urged not to do anything, even though right within itself, that might encourage one weak in understanding to sin. (1 Cor. 8:1-f)

The far more likely problem of the querist — seemingly unrecognized — is the unasked question: Should a Christian marry a non-Christian? The answer must recognize the authoritative nature of Gods word, whether or not it is offensive to brethren. Please read it slowly and carefully.

I believe 2 Cor. 6:14-f. forbids the establishment of a sharing relationship in which the Christian would have to participate, be a party to, encourage, or work as a team-mate in that which is wrong. This could be a business, social, civil, or domestic relation — or any other. Now get what I said! One may do business with a sinner (1 Cor. 5:9-f) and not be a partner in the sin.

If the marriage contemplated involves a compromise in worship or service to God, it is wrong. If it means accepting obligations that are contrary to Gods will; or denying obligations God has given (such as the proper rearing of children) it is wrong. If it means putting anything before God, it is wrong. (Lu. 14:26-f) And the Christian already in such a position must come out from among them (2 Cor. 6:17; See 1 Cor. 7:12-17) in order to be acceptable unto God.

The solution to particular details after one is involved in intolerable marriage situations can become very sticky indeed. What God says, and the basic principles involved, seem clear enough for any honest student. But it is not so easy to know the hearts of people; and the judging of practices in marriage relations can tax a Solomon, and tear hearts to shreds.

BEFORE the marriage vows are made, and the contract consummated — that, is the time to consider these matters. And this choice is too serious to be left to the feelings of brethren.