Churches Of Christ/MDR
Being a Member of the church of Christ, I believe that I have a surface knowledge of the scripture, Mt 19:9; however, would you please provide me your interpretation of the following question?
Would God permit a close, loving; however, non-sexual relationship with a Catholic, who has had three previous marriages, ended by divorce, but no infidelity was involved in any of the three marriages. (The church member is an innocent party of divorced marriage, where infidelity was committed by the other partner.) Understanding that a marriage of these two would not be permitted by God (Mt 19:9) & also the fact that they would be "unequally yoked", due to the difference in their practiced Faiths?
Thank you for your interpretation of God's law in this instance.
I am not 100% sure I understand your question. From what I read this is what I think the situation is and if I am correct then the answer I provide will hopefully be helpful.
Okay so there is a member of the church of Christ who is involved with a Catholic person. They are dating and are in love but have avoided sexual involvement with each other. The Catholic has had three failed marriages which ended in divorce but none of the divorces were due to "infidelity". The member of the Lord's church is divorced once and this divorce was due to infidelity but this person was the innocent party in the divorce.
Now if the above is a correct understanding of the situation, then I will respond to your question. After you described the situation to me, you stated "Understanding that a marriage of these two would not be permitted by Got (Mt.19:9) & also the fact that they would be "unequally yoked", due to the difference in their practiced Faiths?" I do not agree that Matthew 19:9 indicates that these two are not permitted by God to marry. First, Matthew 19:9 is ONLY about the Old Covenant and was directed to Jews. The passage that speaks of not being unequally yoked is found in II Corinthians 6:14. The entire chapter does not really speak about marriage specifically but in general it does say that Christians should not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. It should be obvious to anyone that if a Christian marries a non-Christian the marriage would have more difficulties than a marriage in which two people are both Christians. We don't have a verse anywhere in the New Testament that says you cannot marry a non-Christian. But it is definitely more wise to marry a Christian.
It is important to note that Paul does speak to Christians who have a spouse who is not a believer in I Cor.7:12-16. It is speaking of marriages already in existence. I believe these are newly converted Christians whose spouse chose not to become a Christian. Paul encourages the Christian spouse to stay in the marriage and do your best to make it a good marriage and strive to bring the unbelieving spouse to salvation. But regardless Paul assures them the marriage is acknowledged by God as a marriage and any children would not be viewed as born out of wedlock.
I cannot state that it is a sin for a Christian to marry a non-Christian, but I can say with confidence it is not wise and any marriage involving a Christian and a non-Christian will have more challenges in making it a successful and happy marriage that will be for life. There is definitely the danger that the non-believer will draw the Christian away from God rather than the Christian bringing the non-believer to God, but there is a chance the Christian can convert the non-believing spouse. My advice would be try to convert the person before committing to marriage.
The previous marriages of the Catholic and the causes for the divorces do not disqualify this person from having a new marriage but 3 failed marriages is a bad track record and it would not make me feel very confident this person would be willing and able to enter into a new marriage and make that one last for life. The Christian as I understand you is only divorced once and was innocent of infidelity but the person the Christian was married to was guilty of infidelity. That divorce was definitely for legitimate reason.
My advice to the Christian is to really be careful in what to do regarding the relationship with the Catholic. It would be best to study with the Catholic and attempt to convert this person. Also, even if the Catholic eventually chooses to become a Christian, I would advise they both go through a good amount of pre-marrital counseling to help them both prepare for marriage and give them a better chance of making it for life. If the Catholic is not willing to study the Bible and it is clear converting to Christianity is not going to happen, I would recommend ending the relationship on good terms and that the Christian find a Christian to eventually marry instead. I would not advise the Christian to marry the Catholic unless the Catholic converts, but I can't tell the Christian it would be a sin to marry the Catholic.
If you need more clarification or would like for me to explain a passage in the Bible more in detail just let me know in a follow up question. I will be praying for this couple and thank you for asking me your question.
In Christian Love, Joe Norman