Churches Of Christ/interreligion marriage

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Question
hi Joe Im dating a man thats a member of the church of christ.he says we cant get married unless I join his church and be baptised there.bt I hv a church I go to and Im a christian too.why cant we get married.what are the beliefs in church of christ about that?is it really a problem?

Answer
Hi Jane,

First I wish to apologize for taking so long to respond. I am quite busy these days. I want to explain that the churches of Christ do not have a book of creeds or doctrines that we all adhere to as individuals or congregations. The churches of Christ strive to be the one true church established over 2000 years ago. We do this by using only God's Word to guide us as to how to organize, how to worship, and how to live as Christians. Each local congregation is independent and autonomous so there can be slight differences from one congregation to the next but usually the differences are very minor. Each individual is responsible to prove what is true. What I am saying is you will probably find individual within the churches of Christ who do not agree with the man you have been dating. Many will agree with him and probably even a majority. Does that mean it's correct? Not necessarily. But what I am saying is although a majority may believe the same as the man you are dating, there can be a large number who will not agree as well.

I am here to help people better understand God's Word. I can tell you what scripture many point to in such a situation. It is because we come together to be that same church described in the New Testament that most of us believe a person is only a true Christian if they are converted to the church of Christ. A person must hear the truth, believe Jesus is the Son of God, repent of their sins, confess Jesus as the Christ, and be water baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for the remission of your sins. So even though you consider yourself to be a Christian who just worships differently and is part of some denomination, most in the church of Christ will not see you as being a Christian. This passage below is what the man you are dating is looking to when he says he can't marry you until you convert to the church of Christ.

2 Cor.6:14-18
14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM. I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE." 17 Therefore "COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM AND BE SEPARATE, SAYS THE LORD. DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN, AND I WILL RECEIVE YOU." 18 "I WILL BE A FATHER TO YOU, AND YOU SHALL BE MY SONS AND DAUGHTERS, SAYS THE LORD ALMIGHTY."

First we need to understand that at the time Paul wrote this to the church in Corinth, there was only one church claiming to be Christians. Also, Paul is not specifically speaking of marriage. Second, using this the way many do within the church of Christ has problems when you look at 1 Cor.7:12-17.

12 But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife? 17 But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches.

Now today's world is different than it was when Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. There was only ONE church at that time and they all worshiped the same way and communed together. Today there are many many versions of churches filled with people who all claim to be Christian but they do not worship in the same way or all believe pretty much the same things. Most do not agree with how a person becomes a Christian even. They are all organized in different ways. But they all claim to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and to dedicate their lives to living as Christian. I do believe that there is only one true church that worships God and organizes itself and follows God's Word most accurately. I do believe that church is the church of Christ. What I can't say beyond any doubt? I can't say it would be a sin for the man you are dating to marry you when you are not a member of the church of Christ.

I can say there are problems with any couple getting married who do not believe mostly the same things about Christianity and church and worship. One major problem is when the couple has children. How will you raise them as parents? What will you both agree on teaching them? Where will the family as a whole worship? When a couple does not believe mostly the same things and doesn't even worship in the same way or attend the same "church" it will cause major confusion for their children. This could even cause the children to reject religion completely. A family should be united and parents should believe mostly the same things and raise their kids without confusion. They should all attend one church and worship in one way.

Another issue for couples who do not believe the same things and do not attend the same church or worship the same way is that one can pull the other away from God completely or it could be that both within the relationship stop living for God and attending church all together. It is very tough to remain true to God and what you believe is true when you marry someone who doesn't believe mostly the same things and isn't part of the same "church".

I don't know if I have helped you much. I also am not sure if anything I say will change the mind of the man you are dating either. But I will pray for you both and may God's will be done.

In Christian Love, Joe Norman

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Joe Norman

Expertise

I can answer questions regarding acceptable worship, organization of the church, or any apsect of the Christian life. I am the son of a preacher and have studied the Bible from cover to cover since I was 12 years old. I am strong in my research skills and do not follow teachings of men. Many will label me as conservative and some might label me as liberal, but I just seek to be biblical. I understand proper exegesis and hermeneutics and apply them. My desire is to share my knowledge of God's Word with others. Please always keep in mind that none of us who are listed as experts here are divinely inspired and therefore it is possible to get incorrect answers from any one of us. Study the Scriptures and decide for yourself if what is taught is true.

Experience

I am the 4th generation in my family to be a faithful member of the church of Christ. I was raised by a preacher and have studied the Bible everyday since I was twelve. I am 45 yrs old now. I am not a "scholar", but I am very familiar with the scriptures.

Organizations
member of the church of Christ, served as a Deacon for a few years at LakeShore church of Christ in Waco, Tx. I currently live in the North Dallas area and am still very active within the church of Christ teaching, leading Bible Studies, and songleading as well. I am also actively involved in online ministry. I hope to open my own webpage eventually.

Education/Credentials
School of hard knocks

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