HANDLING RELIGIOUS DIFFERENCES IN MARRIAGE
1. Should a Church or religious denomination be a problem in marriage, or should Christians of different denominations marry?
2. What is the Bible saying on this?
3. What should those Christians who are dating consider before marrying someone of a different denomination?
This question is often asked: Should a Church or religious denomination be a problem in marriage, or should Christians of different denominations marry? We must bear in mind that marriage is about agreement between two opposite sex. In a godly marriage, only death and unfaithfulness can do both part, therefore the following steps must be considered before getting married:
1. Premarital counseling
2. Do both agree to live together for better and for worse?
Premarital counseling may open the door to discuss things like:
Does each one agree to marry despite different denomination?
How many children they plan on having (if any)?
How their way of worship is going to be?
And many more must be determine before marriage.
Do both come to agreement and be willing to cope with religious differences?
If yes then they can carry on and married but must note that there shall be a lot of trials about their way of worship. And many other unresolved questions that could create friction in the home. Certainly they should solve which church they plan to attend.
Do they both go to the same church or do they have different denominations? If they are different, how different are they doctrinally? These are all important issues to get out on the table and discuss before any marriage is consummated, not to mention, even considered. What is the Bible saying on this? Apostle Paul made this clear to the Church at Corinth “not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?” (2 Cor 6:14-15) If the Bible says we should not be friends with the world, will it be possible for believers to marry unbeliever?
Life would have been better for couples if they attend the same church. For instead, there are many denominations today with different understanding of the word of God and have different believes which could easily affect their way of worship and raising their children. To be specific, there is a “Church A” who believes ladies in the Church can wear pants or tracers and “Church B” believes that it is ungodly for ladies to wear men clothing, according to the Old Testament rules pertaining to dress. This example could bring differences in bringing up the children. The Children may have divided attention from their parents. What was Apostle saying in the above verses, was he talking about marriage or about having friendships with unbelievers in the world? If we read the context of this entire chapter we can see that he is talking about the expectations of a believer and the behaviors of the world and believers and unbelievers certainly don’t have a lot in common. It doesn’t appear that Paul was expressly talking about marriage but since this was more about running with the crowds of the unsaved, how much more important would this be when considering marriage to an unbeliever!
It would make no sense for Paul to say we are not to be mixing with the unsaved but it would be okay if we married an unbeliever. If we are not to be having our closest friends with the unsaved, and that is the context I believe of not being unequally yoked, how much more important would it be then to not marry an unbeliever. Since Paul asks “what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever” then it would be even more critical if we are marrying someone who is not a Christ-follower. This doesn’t have anything to do with marrying someone of a different denomination because at the time Paul was writing this, there weren’t any other denominations, only different churches and one body called the Church of Christ or the Church of God. Even so, these churches are different from one another and so a person who attended the church at Colossae or Rome might have difficulties marrying someone in the church at Jerusalem because of the differences in the ethnic backgrounds, culture, families, and practices.
What should those Christians dating consider before marrying someone of a different denomination? It is not advisable to marry someone from different denomination but if one felt he or she need to join together as a husband and wife, then the following must be considered:
Will someone who attends Catholic feel comfortable in Pentecostal Church?
Will both agreed to attend the same Church after marriage?
If No, what are some of the challenges which such decision will have effect on the marriage?
Which Church will your future children be attending if any?
The Book of Amos 3:3 is a good principle to consider when couples of different ethnic backgrounds, different denominations, and different upbringings are to ask, “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?” The meaning of the two walking together is unless they agree about major life principles, they cannot be walking together. Circumstances and love might have brought them together but is this enough to keep them together? Remember that God intends marriage to be for life until death. So this will be the most important lifetime decision the couple will make next to their choice of placing their faith in Jesus Christ.
Back to what Paul said of being unequally yoked, in ancient Israel society, two oxen had to walk together to get anything done. If one walked ahead of the other or if one didn’t do his or her share of the work, then the work would be seriously and negatively impacted. The two must work together, side by side, and be in agreement with one another or it just won’t work at all. The farmer will be frustrated and the oxen will be unruly and the harvest will be affected.
Likewise, groom and bride must come to agreement before married. In the new generation today, since there are many denominations and their teaching, couples in the same church may yield good fruit than been separated with different ideology and denomination. God bless you Ps Derrick Ahovi For prayers and counseling Contact: +233243613286 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org