“Not Yoked with Unbelievers”? Church Can’t Take Charge of Your Marriage

By CCD contributor: Li Daonan, October 26, 2018 11:10 AM

A couple of rings.

I want to start with three marriage stories occurred in the church. They all relate to the teaching - "not yoked together with unbelievers".

The first story happened to a friend of mine who attends a church in Anhui. 

The third generation Christian grew up in the Sunday school of the church founded by her grandfather. Her parents were its elders, who were hailed as the model family that served God. 

After her parents died, she just finished high school then went to study in a seminary with the purpose of carrying on her father's will. After graduation, she commenced serving in Sunday school while farming lands at ordinary times. As time went by, she reached a marriageable age, but her pastor emphasized the "unequally yoked " teaching. Therefore, she expected her spouse to be a Christian.

However, she came across a high school classmate in a homecoming and fell in love with him. The aspiring man lived in a nearby village and owned a house with street frontage in Kunshan after years' hard work in Shanghai. The only flaw was that he was not a Christian. 

Then, their relationship was strongly opposed by her pastor who held the reason of the "not equally yoked" teaching. To fight against their combination, the pastor persuaded her to give up the relationship by trumpeting her Christian family's three-generation history. If they got married, he threatened that she would not be blessed by the church and have to leave the job in Sunday school.

Regarding the pastor as her parent, she obeyed him and broke up with her boyfriend. Afterwards, she married a second-generation Christian who is also in her church. But the happiness didn't come along with her choice. After marriage, her husband showed his true colors, beating her when he was angry. She tasted endless pain. Sharing this with her pastor, she was told that the abusive husband was a God-given lesson and encouraged to endure to the end. 

The second story is about another sister. 

She converted to Christianity when working in a city and was committed to her current church that also taught her to "marry with a believer". If anyone broke the principle, he would never get blessings from the church.

She had a crush on a non-Christian colleague. Similarly, her pastor was vehemently against the romance, sharing God's word with her and listing many family violence cases among the Gentiles. A conclusion was given that if she married an unbeliever, she would lose faith and meet lots of family problems. He added that his advise was out of responsibility for her and recommended some Christian books to her. 

Hearing this, she ended this relationship despite that the man respected her faith with the desire to know Christianity. After the breakup, she became more godly and prayed more frequently. All the church prayed for her that God might heal her wound and prepare a husband for her.  She felt moved for the church's passion.

Although she prayed for her marriage every day, she, nearly 40 years, fails to meet her spouse among acquainted Christians. But she is waiting for the right one despite being confused about church teachings. 

The third story is about me. 

When I joined a church, my pastor instructed the new members including me to marry Christians. While I dated my current wife, she was not a Christian who never contacted Christianity but was respectful to my belief. 

Serving as a group leader of the church's youth fellowship, I was suggested by a believer not to have a relationship with unbelievers. Later, my pastor spoke to me and removed me off the leader position because I was not a good example. Nonetheless, I insisted on my relationship. I left my church.

A friend told me that I was a bad influence in the church after leaving. The pastor said in the meeting for group leaders that the church would not take charge of my marriage. 

Three simple stories. Not simple moods.

A friend asked me for advice for another single friend who is in their thirties. The reason for his singleness was that he should not date an unbeliever but didn't find a suitable girlfriend. 

I replied that the church wouldn't be responsible for your marriage no matter what it promised. Once your marriage or life went wrong, it would let you bear the consequences. 

My first friend who married a believer still obeys the teaching that Christians can't get a divorce. The church can't pay back her lost happiness.

Neither can the church repay my second friend who has waited for her future husband for ten years in accordance with its teaching. 

Who can be responsible for your life? Apart from your parents, you are the only one in charge of your life. Listen to your inner calling, boldly embrace your love, and take charge of your life. 

While faith enables you to find the true self, religion let you lose yourself. 

- Translated by Karen Luo

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