Category Archives: Original God Files post
As a Christian, is dating or marrying a non-Christian sinful?
This is a question I hear fairly frequently, and most of the time young people avoid thinking about it until they or their friends become romantically involved with a non-Christian. Personally, I am wary of the “hybrid” romantic relationship, but I do not declare it to be overtly sinful (unless done sinfully). I think it can be a very bad idea, and I caution you against it. Let’s go through what the Bible says about “unequally yolked” relationships.
Note: I call romantic relationships between Christians and non-Christians a hybrid relationship because Christians are referred to as aliens (1 Peter 2:11)! Christians are very unusual humans, and our actions often cause non-Christians to think we don’t live or want to live in this world. I think the term is more understandable than “unequally yolked”, and I watch a lot of sci-fi. 🙂
Reasons why it is not a grand idea:
1) Marriage is a spiritual representation of Christ and the church. Read Ephesians 5:22-33. The man is considered the spiritual leader and head of the relationship. He is to present her to Christ holy and blameless, having led her down the path of righteousness. This is a HUGE burden for the man to carry, especially if his wife is not a Christian to begin with! (Disclaimer: it is not the husband who cleanses the wife, but Christ — the husband is to encourage her in it and protect her purity, as he is her primary caretaker and partner in life.) He will doubtless feel lonely and possibly disrespected if his wife does not take his role seriously. If he is not a Christian, then his wife will find it difficult to trust what he has to say, and value what advice he has to give. It is possible he will advise her in a manner she finds sinful, putting her at odds against him.
2) The laws of relationship physics: A relationship that is not based on the same foundation is sure to either break apart or cause one of the members of the relationship to change in a significant manner. I can tell you this, because I’ve been the non-Christian in the relationship with a Christian. Originally Caleb and I were both non-Christians, and then he turned to the Lord and I didn’t follow suit. I didn’t have the same mindset as him, and I would rather have things go my way than the right way. It was easy for me to want to see him falter, because then he would be brought down to my level. Thankfully, he stayed strong in the Lord and I got saved. Yes, I know, I did the exact thing I am now preaching against — but that is why! I know why it’s dangerous to date a non-Christian because I used to be one. If both of us were unwilling to change in the relationship, I would have resented the fact that he was a Christian and would eventually ask him to choose between me and God in one way or another. (Guess who would have won? God!! Then I’d be out a husband and some other lucky girl might be marrying him.) I am overjoyed that he and I are fellow heirs in the grace of life (1 Peter 3:7), as it is the strong foundation of our relationship.
3) The Bible warns Christians against marrying non-Christians. A Christian is someone redeemed by Christ, who is made holy by God. An unbeliever is still a sinner, one who disobeys the authority of God, and cannot encourage their partner to follow the path of light, because they themselves do not know what righteousness is. 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 “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.” (For a very in-depth look at this passage, please consider reading this blog by Al Maxey. He explains it better than I could! http://www.gracecentered.com/unequally_yoked.htm)
Important note: If a Christian is already married to a non-Christian, they must remain married! It might be more difficult for them, but they have already made their vows and they should act as a witness toward their spouse. 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 addresses this: “But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away.14For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. 15Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace. 16For 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?” Clearly “hybrid” marriages happened even back in the disciples’ time. 1 Peter 3:1-2 “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” But one could argue that these women were married to unbelievers before they knew Christ.
Okay, but what about _______?
- How can you help falling in love with a non-Christian?
Love is a choice, not a feeling. You decide when you commit your heart and life to somebody. This is why we are to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23 NIV “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”) until we know for certain this is God’s intended plan. Even when Christians are dating Christians they should still guard their hearts! If you are currently romantically attached to a non-Christian, then I suggest you go to a trusted spiritual leader. They can give you a good perspective and check to make sure your relationship with God is not suffering. I do not discount the possibility that God might desire a Christian to be involved with a non-Christian.
- I’m only dating, it’s not like I plan on marrying this guy/gal.
The word “dating” has as many variations as Crayola has colors. For the purposes of this discussion, I will define dating as a situation with romantic intentions. You can get to know somebody platonically to decide if they are right for you or not. If you are prematurely sharing your heart with someone you have absolutely no intention of marrying, then you are just giving away pieces of your heart that your future husband/wife cannot reclaim. If you are involved with this person in a physically intimate way (sex or no sex), you are giving yourself away to someone who has no long-term vested interest in you. And that’s that. It’s emotionally damaging to you, your partner, and your future spouse. Many learn this the hard way. Casual dating often lends itself to issues of impatience, envy, or insecurity. Once you get into the mindset of “I deserve, I want, I must”, you are no longer thinking along the lines of Jesus.
- But I feel like God is telling me it’s okay! I am witnessing to him/her after all.
I get wary of this statement and the idea of missionary dating. I cannot confirm or deny what God is telling you. All I can tell you is what the Bible says (refer back to point # 3). Are there success stories of Christians dating non-Christians and the non-Christians converting in the end? Of course, praise God for that! Just remember that many relationship break apart, and those ‘success stories’ were likely filled with a lot of heartache. I do have one encouraging story for you. A non-Christian man was dating a Christian woman, and she broke off their romantic relationship on the basis that he was not a Christian and she felt like it was not right. After many years he became a Christian on his own, they reconnected and started dating again. They got married and now they are missionaries and their daughter is a wonderful friend of mine.
- I’m not desperate, we just clicked!
I believe you. I really do. As a dear friend of mine did rather diligently, she prayed for the young man she was interested in. She prayed that he would find Jesus, and that the door to their potential relationship would open or close on God’s terms. She kept her heart pure and kept it in check to make sure it would not attach itself to a man not yet hers, and God rewarded her. Not in the way you think. He rewarded her by keeping her from heartache and by protecting her for her future husband. The door is closed for now, but she is still praying for the young man. Perhaps in the future he will also come back to her and say “I’m a Christian now, how about that date?” Or maybe not, but for now, she is content to just wait. She is the best example of Philippians 4:6-7 I’ve seen: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Please do not think I consider you or your parents sinful or horrid for being in a “hybrid” relationship. I caution you against it (assuming you are not already married) because I have seen the emotional and spiritual damage that has been done in the lives of many I hold dear. I have also seen the struggle of many Christian friends who were interested in non-Christians, and they pursued God through it all. It was not easy for them, but God is faithful. I cannot tell you the plan of God. I cannot tell you what the will of God is for your life. If you are convinced that you are to marry or be in the life of a non-Christian, then do so blamelessly. Far be it from me to condemn you. Your life will be difficult, your trials many, and your prayers desperate. (This is true for Christian relationships as well.) But God is faithful to the last, and He will never abandon you. Pray over everything, and seek first after the Lord in everything you do. I hope that God will bless you with one who can delight in the Lord with you.
I get a daily Bible verse from Biblegateway.com, and I always get it in two translations: KJV and NIV. Sometimes the KJV is just too florid for my understanding, so I get it in two translations. The other day the verse was Proverbs 21:21, and I read it in several different translations and found it fascinating.
Whoever pursues righteousness and love
finds life, prosperity and honor. (NIV)
He who pursues righteousness and loyalty
Finds life, righteousness and honor. (NASB)
He that followeth after righteousness and mercy
findeth life, righteousness, and honour. (KJV)
The substituted words are “love, loyalty, mercy”. It struck me as interesting that there was such a difference in these translations. How are these substituted words similar? I am not familiar with the original language, so forgive me if my interpretation is less than academic. I am merely stating what the Holy Spirit related to me for my own personal understanding.
One of the most consistent words is “righteousness”. He who pursues righteousness will inherit this wonderful promise. But righteousness is not enough, you must pair righteousness with love, loyalty, and mercy. This two-fold requirement reveals the nature of God. God is holy, God is righteous. But God is more than a flawless being; His love is what drives Him to make His children righteous in His image, so that they may share in eternal life with Him. If you think about what God’s love is, it’s an extension of His mercy, which He bestows upon us in the form of grace. His grace will never fail, and He will never run out of grace. This is the loyal promise of God: that He will pursue you faithfully to the end of your days, bestowing upon you his mercy, grace, and love. He will teach you His righteous ways so that you may pursue it passionately; He has changed your nature so that it desires a life of righteousness and love rather than self-centeredness and sin.
If you pursue God for who He is, and you will find life, prosperity, and honor. The definition of “honor” is this: honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions. The definition of “prosperous” is this: Having success; flourishing. Why does the NIV say “prosperity” rather than “righteousness”? I suspect it has to do with the several references to righteous people of God flourishing. See some Pslams below:
Psalm 92:12 “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon”
Psalm 72:7 “In his days may the righteous flourish
and prosperity abound till the moon is no more.”
Go back and read Proverbs 21:21. Isn’t this an amazing promise of God? If you pursue Him and put Him first, He will bless you.
The unbelievers do not know or understand this promise, but it is extended to them as well. If in their hearts they pursue the attributes of God — His righteousness, love, loyalty, mercy — God will reveal Himself to them. He desires that none of His children perish. They too have the chance to find life, and it is our duty to lovingly show them the way through our actions, both spoken and unspoken. Sometimes we don’t realize how much of a positive effect we have on a non-Christian friend when we simply treat them with courtesy and kindness. They notice when you “Love your neighbor as yourself,” whether you realize it or not. The Christian life is about showing the nature of God whether people expect you to or not; in fact, you must show Christ more-so when people expect you to do the exact opposite! Matthew 5 has all sorts of interesting things to say about a Christian’s behavior. I encourage you to go read it as a refresher.
Let us pursue righteousness and love, not only for our own spiritual growth, but for the sake of those around us.
(This post was originally written February 9, 2011 on the original The God Files.)
“Rather than being ‘actual persons’, newborns were ‘potential persons’. Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life’.” ¹
This quote is from a controversial article in The Journal of Medical Ethics, authored by medical ethicists at Oxford University named Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva. It made popular rounds on social media sites through an article in The Telegraph. ²
The main point of Drs. Giubilini and Minerva seems to be that imperfect infants should be allowed to be terminated on the basis that they are broken and an “unbearable burden on the family and on society as a whole, when the state economically provides for their care.” ¹ In other words, if the human life costs valuable resources to maintain and won’t contribute back to the society in valued, measured ways, the life is not worth enough to maintain and should be allowed to be thrown away without repercussions.
This would target any child with any genetic disease or disorder, like Down syndrome.In the mind of some, these babies cause a drain on society: they live, they don’t work, they don’t contribute, and they suck money away from healthy humans.
Drs. Giubilini and Minerva’s opinion is nothing new. Claire Rayner wrote an article inThe Independent’s Opinion section back in 1995. She states that she wants to give parents the right to choose whether or not they want to burden themselves and others with their baby’s syndrome.
“The hard facts are that it is costly in terms of human effort, compassion, energy, and finite resources such as money, to care for individuals with handicaps… People who are not yet parents should ask themselves if they have the right to inflict such burdens on others, however willing they are themselves to take their share of the burden in the beginning. “³
Rayner’s argument does not favor the position of those who wish to keep their child.She ends this paragraph with, “The right to choose implies the duty to choose as unselfishly as possible, surely?” ³
This implication will undoubtedly become an expectation if after-birth abortion comes into effect, especially if language like “if [parents] have the right to inflict” is used.That phrase casts blame on the parents who are willing to keep a disabled child, as they are allowing their child to inflict others with the child’s less-than-perfect existence. It won’t be long before their decision to keep their baby is frowned upon by the general masses rather than pitied.
The medical world has a knack for catching the attention of the media, for good or ill.In this regard, politicians and pro-abortionists will play this angle and prey on ill-informed fears and misconceptions by claiming that disabled children take valuable resources from healthy children; your healthy children. We are all directly or indirectly affected by the “unbearable burdens” of disabled children.
The most alarming aspect of the article by Drs. Giubilini and Minerva is that it doesn’t just stop at babies with health issues. “What we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.” ¹
This is where the pro-abortionists seem to depart from their original claims. Most in favor of abortion claim that killing fetuses is not like killing a person because the baby is dependent on the mother and therefore not a separate being. Once the child is born, it ceases to become a “choice” and becomes a human. The pro-abortionists believe that life can be forfeit even after the child is brought to term on the basis that a child is human, but not a person with automatic values and rights.
“Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life. Indeed, many humans are not considered subjects of a right to life: spare embryos where research on embryo stem cells is permitted, fetuses where abortion is permitted, criminals where capital punishment is legal.”¹
“Rather than being ‘actual persons’, newborns were ‘potential persons’. Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life’.”¹
‘Merely being human’ extends to an alarming number of people when brought to its full logical context.
What’s next? Our country would save millions of dollars of funding by stopping research on Alzheimer’s patients and “compassion killing” those patients instead. After all, the sick and elderly eat away at our medical costs and they hardly provide useful substance to our society. According to the logic of Drs. Giubilini and Minerva, sick elderly patients and the mentally disturbed might not even be considered persons.They define a ‘person’ as “an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her.” ¹ Will the sick and elderly be denied a say in the matter and treated as infants on the basis that they do not offer “basic value”?
In the 1800’s, slave owners enslaved and murdered the Africans on the basis that they were less than human. In the 1900’s, the Nazis blamed the economic distress of Germany on the “genetically impure” Jews, who were then systematically murdered.In the 2000’s, the world murders innocent children in the womb and considers murdering newborns on the basis that a baby is only a “potential person” and not an “actual person”. How far will we go? Who will determine what makes a human a “person” with a “moral right to life”?
There are whole foundations dedicated to remembering the horror behind the genocide committed by our forefathers, and yet the idea of after-birth abortion is proposed and seriously considered. Humans are repeating history by making the same basic mistake of devaluing a human’s life and finding that to be a good enough reason to kill him.
As Dr. Cox states so eloquently in the Scrubs Pilot episode, “Pumpkin, that’s modern medicine. Bureaucratic nightmares, paperwork out the a–, and advances that keep people alive who should have died years ago, back when they lost what made them people.” ⁴
What will our country do about the after-birth abortion proposition? How will the medical community respond in the next few years? The editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics, Prof. Julian Savulescu, said, “The journal would consider publishing an article positing that, if there was no moral difference between abortion and killing newborns, then abortion too should be illegal.”² This is a good point, and it’s not clear if he intended to make this point or not. If our country responds and says that after-birth abortion is horrible, then shouldn’t that negate the logic behind abortion?
Abortion has always been political and it has ultimately been about convenience and money. There are two things that I’ve noticed about the articles by Drs. Giubilini and Minerva and Claire Rayner: they both come down to defining these children as unacceptable burdens, and they are not the original proponents of after-birth abortion.
These people did not come up with their ideas all by themselves. In fact, their ideas can be chillingly logical if viewed from the mindset that life without acceptable purpose is not to be valued. You will find some extremely consistent people who believe genetically imperfect babies should be terminated, the sick should be put down, and the elderly disposed of. This is nothing new.
So where do we draw the line? Can our country continue to believe that it can both value life and destroy it? We will find that we must accept all or nothing. What after-birth abortion comes down to is this: A child is not worth protecting if it somehow doesn’t have the potential to aid those who decide its fate.
The world has never deteriorated into this mindset. It has always been hypocritical: it will protect three-legged puppies and turn around to murder the Down syndrome baby. The people who propose murder will always consider that their good fortune — their sound, reasoning mind — is somehow their own doing, as if they created themselves in their mother’s womb and now have the right to decide the fate of children in the wombs of others.
Let this article serve as a warning to us. The world has always found ways to commit the same evil under a different name by blaming the victims. This name is now known as “after-birth abortion”. Don’t be fooled — it is nothing less than genocide.The question is: will you fight it?
¹Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” Journal of Medical Ethics (2012).http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/03/01/medethics-2011-100411.full
² Stephen Adams, “Killing babies no different from abortion, experts say.” The Telegraph (2012). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9113394/Killing-babies-no-different-from-abortion-experts-say.html
³ Claire Rayner, “ANOTHER VIEW: A duty to choose unselfishly. ” The Opinion section of The Independent (1995). http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/another-view-a-duty-to-choose-unselfishly-1588540.html
⁴ “Simply Scripts: Scrubs Pilot.” http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/scrubs-pilot.pdf
(This blog post was originally posted on March 12, 2012 on the original The God Files blog.)