While I was a singles’ pastor for six years, I often dealt with issues from those whom I had married. I had these issue in both premarital counseling and post-marital counseling. In post-marital counseling things got interesting. I would often sit in the presence of a discouraged wife or husband whose marriage was less than happy. For some, things just weren’t clicking. For others, the problems were more serious. Much of the time people would suggest that they had made a mistake. In their mind, they simply married the wrong person and their “soul-mate” was still out there waiting.

These type of things quickly become a matter of theology—very practical theology. The question is this: Is it possible to have married the wrong person?

No matter how difficult things were I would always discourage such a direction in thinking. I don’t think that it is ever possible to have married the “wrong” person. I know that this sounds strange to some, but it is simply a natural outcome of my belief in God’s sovereignty. Just as the election and the government is ultimately in God’s hands (Rom. 13), even if and when people make selfish and evil choices, God’s will is ultimately being accomplished.

Getting personal: My wife and I met in a bar. Yes, that is right. Seventeen years ago, I was out, drunk and picking up on women. In a drunken stupor, I stopped my wife (my waitress at the time) and said “Before I get drunk, I want to say ‘I love you’” (sweet pick-up line, huh?) We hit it off, and to make a long story short, we got hitched. As I grew in the Lord, I questioned my motivations for marrying her. If you have seen her, you know she is very beautiful. This is not to brag, but to give you a sense of conflict that I have had (and, I am sure, Kristie has had as well). We have had our share of difficulties. I would like to say that things have been great with me and Kristie, but we have some very serious personality conflicts. Sometimes these are so severe, so discouraging, so long-lasting, so unforgiving, that the terrible question pop’s in my head, “Did I marry the wrong person?” It is in these times that my theology begins to lock certain doors.

Are you supposed to meet your wife in a bar? No, not ideal. Are you supposed to fall in love with her primarily because of looks? No, not ideal. Can you make wrong decisions that lead to an important decision such as marriage? Absolutely. So, was it God’s will that I marry Kristie. You bet.

You see, I believe that God works with us in our sin. Come on folks, does he have any other choice? If he did not work through our sin, 1) what does the world “grace” mean and, frankly, 2) when would he work? If God works, he works through fallen people who make selfish and ungodly decisions. If his will is going to be accomplished, he uses these to do so. He uses sin. This does not mean he brings about the sinful disposition that leads to our choices nor does it justify sin, it just means that they become his instruments to bring about his plan.

God brought Kristie and I together and our togetherness has been hard. Yes, I am sure it could have been easier had we married someone else. We could have smiled more. We could have been more relaxed. Things could have more “click” to them. We could be setting an example of a “Christian marriage” for all to see. Simply put, we could have a “better” marriage according to another standard. Although I hate to say this, the grass sometimes really is greener on the other side.

But my shade of green is not necessarily God’s. My standard is not God’s.

Is it God’s will for Kristie and I to be together? You bet. And we are committed to this. Could there have been better choices made? “Better” is rather relative and can get you into trouble. From a human perspective which does not see all ends and is foolishly self-serving, yes. From a divine perspective, no.

God has a purpose for Kristie and I to be together. Neither of us married the wrong person. Sometimes we cannot see what is really going on and our passions are clouded by the pain, but we must keep our eyes on the sovereignty of God and find a much deeper level of satisfaction in each other knowing that God—the all-knowing God—has put us together for a reason. In this we discard our thoughts of mistake and we let go of the humanistic “soul-mate” theory. Once this is done, we find a new fairy-tale marriage that is better than any we could have chosen. Why? Because God knows best. Because God works through sin. Settled, satisfied, and in constant delight describes my marriage when I take this perspective.

Did you marry the wrong person? No. What if you are divorced, does that mean you married the wrong person? No. What if you are remarried, does this mean that you remarried the wrong person. No. It does not sanctify our decisions and attitudes that led up to these decisions, but we have to remember that God, in grace and his relentless pursuit of his own will, works out his will in all things, even sin (Eph. 1:11).

Before you react to this post in a very critical matter, believing I have lost my bearing, heading toward some sort of radical Calvinism, please answer this: If you were talking to someone whose birth was the result of a rape/incest union and they asked you, “Was it God’s will for me to be conceived?” What would you say?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    170 replies to "Is it Possible to Marry the Wrong Person?"

    • Adulcia

      Do you think there is also the myth of our culture of “Mister Right” or “Miss Right” – in other words there is a ONE perfect mate for each of us out there, and everyone else will be second best.

      In my thinking, there is a large number of potential mates that are likely to be “compatible” with me. I have the freedom to chose any one of these to marry. Once I have made my choice, I am committed to my spouse “until death do us part” as is God’s intention for husbands and wives.

      God is a gracious God, and when we do stuff up (which we all do in different ways), he can turn any situation around to his glory, if we allow him.

      What saddens me is when I see Christian marriages fall apart because one partner (in my observation more often the husband) has met someone else (younger and prettier perhaps) and believes they have “fallen in love”. Do you think this is why Jesus talked about allowing divorce in the case of adultery?

    • Lisa Robinson

      I was all set to object and then you had to go pulling on my Calvinist heart strings. Is that allowed? 🙂

      Seriously, I do find it difficult to swallow that I would marry a non-believer during my rebellious years and one who treated me harshly and with way less concern than a husband should and that was the right person.

      Funny thing is, God used his family members to bring me back about a couple of years into the marriage. And because of my husband’s disability and subsequent death, it would allow me to eventually go to seminary. Hmmmm

    • Irenicum

      First off, I have a niece out west born of rape. Her life is as valuable as any other. I’ll probably never meet her, yet she is as beautiful as any child born on this earth.

      Now as to the question concerning marriage, I can say that I’m very grateful that I didn’t marry my supposed “soul mate” because my understanding of that idea was severely distorted by my recent loss of a loved one. This along with with the fact that she also was driven in our relationship by her own family losses, her parent’s divorce.

      Our relationship, in that sense, was a perfect storm of disfunctional interaction. Neither of us were ready for marriage. I am grateful that we didn’t marry. Not because of her, but because of me. I still hope to marry. Someday. But I know that any relationship I engage in will be between two deeply broken people knowing that it takes the grace of God to shine through our cracks and crevices.

    • bethyada

      You have posted similar before? I’ll put in my perspective (which I may have previously).

      I think we can marry the wrong person. I think that if we do not secure God’s approval then we can make mistakes; that if we were willing to honestly ask God before the marriage if we should marry this person and heard him clearly that God would be saying no quite often. Consider Christians who marry non-Christians for a start. But even within the church there are people who should not be marrying each other.

      There are biblical examples where God chose someone a spouse.

      This does not imply there is only one particular person you should marry, as you say God works with us in our sin so if we respond to him at different times then his will for us may be other than at a different time.

      This does not mean people are currently married to the wrong person (which I think is more in line with your post). Even if you married in lack of obedience the person you marry becomes the right person. They are who God wants you to be married to now.

      • John Barron

        Where does the Bible ever tell us to stop what we are doing and seek God’s approval? When it comes to marriage, the Bible tells us our potential spouse must be a believer, of the opposite sex, who is biblically free to marry…that’s it. I do not see the Apostles and any disciples waiting around for “feelings” of confirmation from God.

        Think about the chaos you would cause by marrying the wrong person. Now not only did you marry the wrong person, but your spouse married the wrong person, and the people you and they were supposed to marry are going to marry the wrong person, and now their spouses are married to the wrong people…and so on.

        God gives us parameters i.e., his revealed moral will, and we are expected to work within those parameters. There is freedom, and God through His sovereign will (which we do not know) has all things under control. We cannot throw God for a loop.

    • Brandon

      Thanks for this post! If more people understood God’s sovereignty in this issue maybe there would be less divorce. Without the constant wondering if there is someone better out there, they could spend more time enjoying their marriage.

    • John from Down Under

      I agree THIS IS very much a theological issue. Had it not been for my theological convictions on this matter I would have given up on my marriage a long time ago.

      I was haunted by the same doubt a while ago as I met my wife in a charismatic church, and shortly after we realized our attraction for each other we had ‘prophecies’ commanding us to get married ‘or else’. I was threatened by ‘the lord’ that ‘a plague would come to my home’ if I did not comply. This made us marry in a hurry and I was a new Christian then. Later in the marriage we began wondering if we would have ended up getting married anyway, had it not been for that interference (or spiritual rape more likely) and the relationship was allowed to grow naturally.

      My lifeboat was my belief that God can redeem a problematic marriage even if both parties ended up together for all the wrong reasons. Since the institution of marriage was God’s idea in the first place, I always thought (rightly or wrongly) that it has the potential to succeed by default. If it fails, it’s because one of the two parties, propelled by his/her sinful nature acts contrary to God’s biblical pattern for marriage.

      I think it works both ways. If you get married for ‘the right reasons’ but do the ‘wrong things’ in a marriage, there’s a good chance of shipwreck. Au contraire, if you marry for the wrong reasons but do the ‘right things’ in a marriage, it will most likely grow strong and survive. It is almost analogous to the Babylonian exile. Though it was not God’s original desire that they end up there, once they got there God promised to bless them if they obeyed him (Jer 29:4-7)

      Even if God handpicks your partner (how you verify that, I have no idea), it is no lifetime warranty against failure if you don’t work at building your marriage on biblical foundations by God’s grace. It didn’t help Saul that God handpicked him to wear the crown, he still lost his kingship because of his disobedience.

    • Leslie Jebaraj

      John:

      “If you get married for ‘the right reasons’ but do the ‘wrong things’ in a marriage, there’s a good chance of shipwreck. Au contraire, if you marry for the wrong reasons but do the ‘right things’ in a marriage, it will most likely grow strong and survive.”

      Beautifully, beautifully put!

    • Isaiah

      Yeah, my friend Mark is about to marry his buddy Steve, I was going to tell Mark he was about to marry the wrong person, but instead I’ll go ahead and tell him that C Micheal Patton said that you could never marry the wrong person and it’s OK. (I am just kidding of course.)

    • TraciG

      Thanks for this post. It was very encouraging to me as I have been a bit discouraged in my marriage as of late. I too sometimes have the thought that I married the wrong person. This is a good reminder that even if we make a bad decision, even a disobedient one, if we repent and become obedient in our current situation, God can work things out together for good!

    • BHolland

      I agree with you, Michael!
      BEFORE one marries is the time to reflect on “the fit” but once you have made a covenant, God will work on both parties to make the fit–fitter.
      Are some fits easier than others–sure, but I believe both persons bring “baggage” into the union; as Beth Moore puts it some bags might be “brown paper” and some might be “Gucci” but baggage is baggage.
      And to quote another great radio preacher (whose name escapes me). If you are married, then they are the right person.
      Been married since 1969…my only credential 🙂

    • Hodge

      So the summary of this could be:

      Can you marry the wrong person? God’s decree: No.
      Can you marry the wrong person? God’s revealed will: Yes.

      So we are to act according to God’s revealed will. Be careful who you marry, but as Michael says, you married who you were supposed to marry. We are not to seek escape from it, but God’s glory through it (pending whether it is a legitimate union of course, Isaiah :)).

    • cherylu

      So if a Christian chooses to marry an unbeliever it is because of God’s decree? He decrees that a Christian will sin in this way? Is that what you are saying, Hodge?

      I’m sorry, but I don’t think I will ever be able to wrap my mind around all of the ins and outs of Calvinist theology!

    • EricW

      If you were talking to someone whose birth was the result of a rape/incest union and they asked you, “Was it God’s will for me to be conceived?” What would you say?

      I’d say the only correct thing that can be said: “Who knows?”

    • Ron

      This discussion reminds me of a Tolkien quote I’ve always liked:

      “Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might be found more suitable mates. But the real soul-mate is the one you are actually married to.”

      Letter to Michael Tolkien (March 1941)

      The whole letter is a real gem. It and others can be found here: http://glim.ru/personal/jrr_tolkien_42-45.html

    • cherylu

      Michael Patton,

      Would you say that if a believer marries a non believer, (which I am assuming every one here believes is something God has commanded us not to do in the Bible), that he is still marrying the right person? Since you have said that you don’t believe it is possible to marry the wrong person, I have to assume you would agree with this.

      I certainly don’t understand why a person that God has forbidden someone to marry in His Word is the person that is “the right person” for a believer to marry and the one that God has (evidently as Hodge pointed out above) decreed for the believer to marry. That is way too contradictory to make any kind of sense to me.

      • wm tanksley

        Cheryl, the point is more that there’s isn’t a single “right” person to marry that you have to look around for. Rather, there are a bunch of people that would be good to marry, and a bunch that would be bad to marry; and the one you choose is the one you’ve got to stick with.

        This isn’t a question specific to Calvinism; it’s more common in American “pop” evangelicalism. Calvinists deny that the decree of God can be known by man anyhow.

        -Wm

        • Hodge

          William,

          “Calvinists deny that the decree of God can be known by man anyhow.”

          Just to be clear, you mean in the future sense, correct? We know that what has come to pass and what is currently is the decree of God, or it would not be. Hence, the issue of whether one is married to the “right” person now by God’s decree can be known. I just wanted to clarify that point, as that seems to be what we are discussing.

        • cherylu

          The only trouble with that, William, is that Michael made it about Calvininsm in his OP. Or at least as I understood it he did.

    • Hodge

      Cheryl,

      We accept this because of our theology. Obviously, you don’t share that theology. However, what you essentially set up is a world where people are in fact marrying people that God had no control over. He just couldn’t get those humans to do what He wished. Hence, they must live in perpetual regret that they were supposed to marry someone else. Instead, the Bible seems to indicate that a sinful decision in marrying the “wrong” person is also the right person in God’s plan. For instance, David marries Bathsheba, a woman who was married and only marries him now because he made sure that her husband would be killed. She is clearly the wrong person. However, she is the mother of Solomon, and therefore, a mother who links the lineage of Christ, who was decreed by God to come through her. Hence, she is the right person as well. How, then, can she be both the right person and the wrong person according to God at the same time? Do you have an answer to this, or do you see God as continually making things up as He goes?

      • cherylu

        Not sure what you mean by, “making things up as He goes.”

        And just for the record here, I don’t think I have either the time nor the energy to get back into this conversation regarding Calvinism for any length of time here again.

        But then, someone told me earlier that I was “predestined to have these conversations on this site”, so I guess time will tell, huh? 🙂

    • Dr Mike

      I’m not sure we’re thinking in the correct categories. In this (and many other matters) it comes down not to right and wrong, but wise and foolish.

      Was it morally wrong for Michael to marry this particular woman? Certainly not: God, in His grace, provides marriage for believers and unbelievers alike.

      Was it wise for Michael to marry her? Probably not: given the limited circumstances we have been provided, his choice was not wise.

      To rationalize everything as being part of God’s decree is just bad Calvinism – and, no, I do not believe I’m being redundant. We are responsible for our decisions whether they pertain to right and wrong (when it is a moral issue), or to wise and foolish (in non-moral matters).

    • cherylu

      Hodge,

      Let me ask you the question I asked CMP.

      If Jane Christian down the street falls in love with and marries Joe unbeliever in direct disobedience to God’s commandment to not be unequally yoked to an unbeliever, am I to understand that the reason she did this was because it was God’s decree for her to be married to him?

      I thought God made it clear that as Christians we are to obey His Word. In fact, Jesus made it clear that if we don’t do what He says, we have no right to call Him Lord.

      I also thought that we are to be conformed to the image of His Son–His Son who never once disobeyed or sinned in any way.

      Soooo…now you are telling me that it is God’s plan and decree that Jane Christian down the street be married to an unbeliever–he is indeed the right one for her–in direct contradiction of what He tells us we must do in His Word? He in actuallity decrees that even Christians go against what He has told us to do in His Word?

      He decreed at some time in the past that she is to be married to unbeliever Joe down the street, that he is the right one for her, and then turns around and gives her a command that she must not marry him?

      Again, I don’t get it!!

    • name

      Thank you for writing this Mr. Patton.
      I think God’s plan for our lives is SO MUCH BIGGER than who we marry. At least I hope it is. I think the point of living is to glorify God and I think we should be able to do that no matter who we marry.
      I’m on marriage number 2. The first was pretty abusive and some said I just married too young and he was never who God ‘intended’ me to be with. I don’t think I agree with this anymore. I met God in the mist of that marriage. I don’t know if I could say ”I KNOW God” if I hadn’t married him.
      (Should I have stayed married to him? Maybe. Can God change violent irrational people? Sure. I guess He can do anything. But that is neither here nor there because I remarried. It seems pretty plain that I shouldn’t divorce again.)
      But I do struggle with this. The sanctity and work of God in ‘bad relationships’ and where the line is. Or is there a line? Hopefully one day I’ll meet God and get to ask Him if I made the right decision.

    • mbaker

      Is being or staying married to an abuser or pedophile what God would have us do, no matter what? Is this being married to the ‘right’ person, in that God has intended to see us or or our children physically or sexually abused? Or even killed?

      Is letting ourselves or one of our children be put in harm’s way God’s idea of being a good Calvinist? And why would God plan/ordain/ predestine such a thing for his elect?

      Like Cheryl, I don’t get it!

    • Hodge

      Dr. Mike,

      The Scripture paints the categories of “wise and foolish” as synonymous with the categories of “righteous and wicked.” I don’t think we ought to separate them as distinct. What is wise is righteous and what is wicked is foolish (and vice versa). So what is foolish is morally wrong.

      • Dr Mike

        Hodge:

        So, if I understand you correctly, what Michael did in marrying his wife was not “just” foolish but wicked.

        And, if I foolishly give $10 to a homeless person for them to buy food – ignoring the fact that they will likely buy drugs or alcohol instead, my action would be wicked.

        Right?

    • Hodge

      Cheryl,

      Let’s frame your question biblically:

      Did God wish for the Jewish leaders to obey Him and not murder Christ? Yes. Did God decree that the Jewish leaders crucify Christ? Yes. Does that answer your question?

    • Hodge

      mbaker,

      There’s so much bad theology in your objection I don’t know where to begin. For one, God’s goal in our lives isn’t to keep us from physical harm. Otherwise, He fails in His goal with every life, including that of His Son. For another, this conversation isn’t about staying in a place where you will be killed no matter what. A parent has the responsibility to protect his or her children from physical harm and preserve their lives (they are the immediate human government in the lives of those children). But it doesn’t give anyone the right to go marry someone else (but I digress, since we’ve had this discussion already). Michael’s point is that one ought not think that the someone he or she was supposed to marry is still out there. They are not. The person that one was supposed to marry, according to God’s decree, is the one to whom you are married (even in a second marriage).
      Now, I would again reiterate that with which we are to concern ourselves is whether we are being obedient to God by entering that covenant, but once we do, we are not to break it. The Israelites sinned by making a covenant with the Gibeonites, but once they did, God held them to it (and even that was in His plan).

    • cherylu

      Hodge,

      No you didn’t answer my question. The Jewish leaders were not Christians as I am speaking of. Does God delberately have Christians that are supposed to be conformed to the image of His Son sin to accomplish His purposes? Does He deliberately, by His decree, make us go against what He has said in His Word that we are to do in order to accomplish His purposes? Remember, the question I am asking at this point has to do with Christians only.

    • Hodge

      Cheryl,

      So you believe that God wants all non-Christians to sin against Him?

      My point is that God knows that we are going to sin and He uses our sin (whether those sins come from believers or unbelievers) to accomplish His plan. Let’s say, for the sake of a silly argument, that God knows Cheryl will sin 5,000 times in her lifetime. Now, God chooses before the foundation of the world that He will use Cheryl’s sins to fulfill His purposes, so instead of having her sin in situation X, He sets up the situation so that she sins in situation Y so that it fulfills His plan. Of course, I don’t believe this is how it happens, but I’m trying to make it overly simplistic.
      So, in the same way, God knows that the Jewish leaders, or David, are sinners and He decrees that their sin nature will serve His purposes in individual acts that bring about the events and situations He desires. Hence, even a covenant made in sin is within the plan of God, and therefore, the covenant that was supposed to be made (in the decretive sense, not the moral sense).
      Your limiting the issue to Christians only fails to note that God desires all to do good and not evil. It also fails to deal with the example of David and Bathsheba (who apparently is a godly woman otherwise) I gave you.

    • mbaker

      Hodge,

      Let’s avoid the bad theology, ad hominem. It makes you seem condescending rather than helpful. Besides, I think Lisa’s post on another thread already covered that.

      You may have found happiness with a good woman, whom I believe you stated earlier in another thread is your ‘best friend’. I have that NOW in a second marriage but not before.

      The real question is just how far are we supposed to go with a thing that works out in the long run to be a bad choice, when we accepted that the person we married was the ‘right’ one and they turned out to be so wrong?

    • cherylu

      Hodge,

      Your limiting the issue to Christians only fails to note that God desires all to do good and not evil

      No, it takes into account that Christians are the ones that God has specifically said that He is conforming to the image of His Son. Romans 8:29 How are they being conformed to the image of His Son if they are being decreed to break His commandments?

      And besides that, is not the reason that Cheryl will sin 5000 times in her life (as per your illustration above) specifically true because He has indeed predestined and decreed that she will sin that amount of times? (In Calvinist theology?). So, if that is the case, it seems to me that your argument is rather circular.

      It is one thing to say that God takes the sins and bad choices that people make and works them all for good and to bring about his ultimate purposes. But to say that He predestines all of those sins to be done, especially by Christians that are to be conformed to His Son so that His specific purposes will be accomplished, seems to be contrary to His purpose as stated in His Word.

    • Hodge

      “And besides that, is not the reason that Cheryl will sin 5000 times in her life (as per your illustration above) specifically true because He has indeed predestined and decreed that she will sin that amount of times? (In Calvinist theology?). So, if that is the case, it seems to me that your argument is rather circular.”

      No, Cheryl. This is where I think you didn’t grasp the argument before. You will sin on your own. If God decreed nothing to occur, you would sin. My point is that God knows this and decrees that your sin will serve His purposes rather than only the purposes of evil.

      “It is one thing to say that God takes the sins and bad choices that people make and works them all for good and to bring about his ultimate purposes. But to say that He predestines all of those sins to be done, especially by Christians that are to be conformed to His Son so that His specific purposes will be accomplished, seems to be contrary to His purpose as stated in His Word.”

      Actually, they’re not much different. One simply has God react to the specific sins that you autonomously commit and one has God decree that the sins you will commit on your own be brought out in specific ways. I’ve already stated that I believe God decrees the specifics of our sin in view of our sin nature and that we are IN sin, not just people who DO sin. Hence, the state God foresees us in is used to bring about specific acts that accomplish His purposes. In regard to marriage, then, that sinful act of marrying the wrong person (morally speaking) is a specific decreed by God in view of our sin nature.
      If your argument was consistent, you would have to say that sin in a Christian’s life is not controlled by God. If not controlled by God, it works only toward an evil end. If only toward an evil end, it cannot work for good. But the Scripture says that God cooperatively works/does all things for good for the ones who love Him.
      This is what I meant before when I asked if God is just…

    • Hodge

      …making it up as He goes along. If He is reactionary only, then He’s just responding to sins committed and making lemonade whenever He’s given lemons. In my view, the lemons are not the individual acts, but the inevitable sin that an individual will commit. He takes that lemon of a sin nature and makes lemonade out of it beforehand.
      As I said before, this does not excuse the individual from the sin of marrying the wrong person, morally speaking. It just shows that even the bad that occurs is not lost, as it was also meant to happen for a reason.

    • phantom

      “However, what you essentially set up is a world where people are in fact marrying people that God had no control over. He just couldn’t get those humans to do what He wished.”
      vs
      “My point is that God knows that we are going to sin and He uses our sin”

      Hodge, in that first quote you seem to be implying that God actively decides what we will do; in the second you seem to be saying that God leaves us free to choose what to do, but uses our actions (good and bad) to accomplish his plans. Could you clarify which is your position?

      EDIT: Never mind, I saw your post above after posting this, you were too quick for me 🙂

    • phantom

      My philosophical 2 cents for the day:
      I think we all agree that we do bad things and God can use it for good.

      The distinction between God causing or controlling our bad actions (Hodge’s view), and God allowing and responding to our bad actions (Cheryl’s view), is imho one we are not able to make. God, being atemporal, all-knowing, all-powerful, knows everything that happens at all times. When he created the universe, did he see all possible trajectories and choose one of them that suited his end purpose? Or, did he let it choose its own trajectory, but he already knew everything that would happen and engineered it to fit his own end? Am I the only one who sees the impossibility of making this causal distinction? I think we can safely say that God is in control, but I wouldn’t be willing to take a firm stand either that God fatalistically chose who I would marry or that God had no part in who I chose to marry. The universe is such a horrendously complex system that it is hard enough to figure out physical cause and effect, without adding a transcendent and atemporal being to the equation….

      On the other hand, we should make a very legitimate moral distinction, that is to say that God wishes us to do good and does not wish us to do bad, although he (allows it and uses it for his purpose -or- causes it in a way that acheives his purpose -or- both, considering they are quite indistinguishable in my mind).

    • Jon H

      As one who is currently going through a divorce, it seems to me that you can easily marry a wrong person. A wrong person to marry is one who will give up on the marriage and decide they must divorce you at all costs, rather than stay married at all costs.

      I like Dr Mike’s direction on this in the sense that there are wise and foolish decisions. Even if you frame those as righteous and wicked decisions, there are many different paths, some of which are wise/righteous and others that are foolish/wicked. If we are doing our best to obey God we will try to make the right/wise choice about who we will marry. If we are doing our best to obey God we will try to make the right/wise choices to be committed to and love the one we are currently married to. Making a wicked/foolish choice at point A (who to marry) does not let us off the hook for choice B (whether to be a committed and loving spouse).

      On the problem of abusive spouses or the like, I believe God gives us means to get away from those situations while remaining true to our commitments. I think God’s intention is for separation, or even divorce to bring about repentance in the offending party (see the use of divorce as a picture of rejection of Israel, with intent of Israel to repent – Jeremiah 3:6-14), not for “fixing” a “mistake”.

    • cherylu

      Hodge,

      Thanks for your explanation. I understand your position a little better now. I think…. 🙂

    • cherylu

      So, going back to my original question about the Christian that marries an unbeliever.

      In effect you seem to be saying that the fact that the unbeliever is “the right person” for the Christian to be married to because God decreed that they be married applies to the fact that He decreed this particualr person as the best possible outcome of an inevitable sin by this Christian?

      After all, ccording to His Word, this person is still very much the wrong person for the Christian to be married to.

      I hope that makes sense. I’m getting way too tired here.

    • Brian

      A couple of thoughts:

      If people would be more concerned about BEING the right person, instead of FINDING the right person, I think we’d see less second-guessing on marriage. If each partner focused on doing his/her own part according to Ephesians 5:21-33, instead of how their spouse is failing to fulfill their duties, I believe “a rising tide would lift all boats” to borrow a metaphor.

      The idea of a “soul-mate” is not biblical, but comes from Plato’s Symposium.

      A couple of years ago we had a discussion about marriage in Sunday School, and one of the teaching team stated her opinion that any two Christians should be able to marry each other and have a successful marriage, if both are truly committed to following God’s Word. Yes, some couples will have to work harder than others because they don’t have a “natural fit.”

    • ruben

      I think we all have a way of messing up our lives because of bad decisions and we and others suffer for those decisions because we did not listen to God. Did God will it or not is not important (those are things that God is concerned about not men), what’s important is what we make of those bad decisions and how we redeem them.

    • C Michael Patton

      Sorry, I have been extremely busy lately. I am not able to engage to much here.

      However, let me say a quick word: This issue is not about divorce or remarriage. I have many blog posts on this. All you have to do is click the “Marriage and Family” category here at P&P.

      This is about God’s sovereignty in human choices.

      Let me be clear: There is no one who is qualified in both wisdom and knowledge to make the most important decisions of your life. There is deception, misinformation, processing issues, emotive, and a thousand other things (not to mention prayer) that inform our decision. Then there is our own depravity that taints it all. There will not be a time when you are finally qualified to make the marriage decision. You will never be spiritually mature enough if you are counting on your own wisdom and maturity. Never.

      With all these things, we do our best. But once we make these choices, we must be able to hang our hat on something besides ourselves. I believe that God’s sovereignty covers us in his grace. Therefore, I don’t believe you can marry the wrong person. Even if you are divorced, I don’t think you can say that your first wife or husband was not “God’s best.” Your divorce can even be legitimate (having abuse or infidelity), but it was still God’s will for you to suffer through such in my opinion.

      If you take bad things out of God’s sovereign hands, then we don’t really have much left for God be be sovereign over.

      Think for a moment about how most all of human history has worked with regard to marriage. Most of them are fixed, not by your own wisdom, but by parents. Even then, I believe that you cannot marry the wrong person.

      Introduce the human propensity to sin and we are left eternally second-guessing our decision and being in-content. Let God be sovereign and we are at the mercy of his grace. But what a great place to punt.

    • C Michael Patton

      As I read through this, I think there is certianly going to be some misunderstanding about what I said in hast.

      “Even if you are divorced, I don’t think you can say that your first wife or husband was not “God’s best.” Your divorce can even be legitimate (having abuse or infidelity), but it was still God’s will for you to suffer through such in my opinion.”

      What I mean is that your divorce can be legitimate and it was still God will for you to marry your first spouce AND his will for you to divorce them.

    • david carlson

      So… If all decisions made apart from God end up being “correct” ones in God’s plans then why bother seeking his will? I can just do what ever i see as good in my own eyes because what ever I end up doing will be used to further “God’s plan” anyway. There is then really no free choice at all. God just manipulates our choices in such a way as to “make them” be the right choice for His plans.

      The person conceived through sin does not correlate to the argument on marriage as he/she is not the one who sinned.

    • cherylu

      CMP,

      So what about my question of a believer marrying a non believer? Is that still God’s will for that person?

    • C Michael Patton

      Cheryl,

      Once it has happened, yes, Paul makes it clear that it is God’s will, even though the decision was disobedient. 1 Cor. 7:12

    • C Michael Patton

      David, I will answer that if you will answer this: 🙂

      If you were talking to someone whose birth was the result of a rape/incest union and they asked you, “Was it God’s will for me to be conceived?” What would you say?

    • cherylu

      Michael,

      That is not what I asked. You said it is not possible to marry the wrong person.

      I didn’t want to know is she should stay married after they were married or if the unbeliever is God’s choice for the Christian at that point. I wanted to know if you believe the unbeliever is the person that God decreed for the Christian to marry since you said it is not possible to marry the wrong person.

      Is this scenario somehow an exception to your belief that it is not possble to marry the wrong person? If it is, how does that work with your understanding of God’s sovereinty? And if you believe that the unbeliever was indeed the right person for the Christian to marry, how does that work since it is against his direct commandment?

      I just don’t understand how this theology works when the rubber meets the road here.

    • Hodge

      Cheryl,

      I discussed God’s sovereignty over these matters with you because I thought that was important to note that all is within His plan. However, I want to make clear that I don’t believe a Christian marries an unbeliever. I believe a professed Christian who marries an unbeliever is not a Christian. I get that from my reading of Scripture and from the idea that we marry what we are and what we ultimately love. Hence, I don’t believe it’s God’s will for a Christian to marry an unbeliever for the most part because I don’t think there is such a thing. However, I do believe that it is God’s will for an unbeliever who will later become a believer to have married an unbeliever before their conversion. Just wanted to make that clear.

      BTW, I say “for the most part” because it was the case in the OT that God commanded a believer to marry an unbeliever (e.g., Hosea, although we might say the woman he marries is still within the physical covenant community). However, this is not a marriage that stems from what the believer loves or seeks in disobedience to God.

      • cherylu

        Hodge,

        Now you have me really curious. Obviously, to you a Christian marrying an unbeliever is different then any other type of sin a Christian can commit? It is different then any other type of disobedience a Christian could do to God’s revealed law? It must be if you think that a Christian can not do this.

        You don’t believe that if a Christian commits some other kind of sin it automatically means they are an unbeliever do you?

        • Hodge

          Cheryl,

          I believe that marrying an unbeliever is a denial of Christ as Lord. Can someone repent and become a genuine Christian later? Perhaps, but this is viewed as a rejection of God as Lord, a rejection of the faith community, and a rejection of the very purpose of God in the creation of marriage. I simply don’t believe a genuine Christian does this. It has always brought about a condemnation by God that that the individual who does has no inheritance in the community and is exiled (by death or banishment) from it.

          • cherylu

            “It has always brought about a condemnation by God that that the individual who does has no inheritance in the community and is exiled (by death or banishment) from it.”

            Where is this seen specifically? Are you talking about the Old Testament perhaps? Many things there were punished by death in the Old Testament that are not in the New Testament.

            I’m afraid you have lost me here.

            • Hodge

              It’s seen in the OT, but is also brought out in the prohibitions found in the NT. Of course, the NT does not have us execute people, but we do banish them after going through the process of Church discipline and they remain unrepentant. It may also be reflected in Paul’s statement that those young widows who seek to get married contrary to Christ have set aside their previous commitment to Christ. That’s disputable, but I think it is something to think about.
              My point is that one who wishes to join their temple to the temple of Satan, and willfully loves what is hostile to the lordship of Christ, is the same as one who rejects Christ verbally. But this is getting too far from the point, so we should wait until this subject comes up.

            • cherylu

              But in the NT, people were disciplined and removed from fellowship for many reasons if they remained unrepentant. I still don’t know that I agree with your thinking that this one sin is so much worse then any other. Any sin we choose to do is hostile to the Lordship of Christ. That doesn’t automatically make us an unbeliever, does it?

    • C Michael Patton

      Cheryl,

      I think it is what you asked. “Can you marry the wrong person” assumes the marriage has already taken place (at least in the way I am describing it).

      Could I say that it is a an act of disobedience to be intentioned to marry a person who is not a believer? Yes, most certainly. But as Paul implies, once you are married to that person, it is God’s will. And I don’t think that this is God’s “adjusting” will, but his active will which works with sinful people and uses sinful acts to accomplish his will (i.e. in the death of Christ.)

      This is where the rubber meets the road. I have to deal with these situations all the time and my theology must inform them.

      However, I think that this question makes the issue more decisive:

      If you were talking to someone whose birth was the result of a rape/incest union and they asked you, “Was it God’s will for me to be conceived?” What would you say?

      What would you say?

    • cherylu

      CMP,

      To me the question, “Can you marry the wrong person?” speaks of a present or a future act. Not a past one. That question would be, “Did I marry the wrong person?” would it not?

      So are we talking about two completely different things here? You still said it was absolutely God’s will that you marry Kristie. You said he brought you together. That is all past tense at the time you actually got married and before, was it not? That doesn’t sound to me like you are talking about simply the present being lived out.

    • C Michael Patton

      Yes, Cheryl. Theological hindsight is the issue here. Certainly we can make wrong decisions, but God uses our sinfulness to bring about his will.

    • C Michael Patton

      However, I am not letting you get past this!!!

      If you were talking to someone whose birth was the result of a rape/incest union and they asked you, “Was it God’s will for me to be conceived?” What would you say?

      Ok, I will let you (even though I would like to hear what you have to say). At the very least, you can see the extent of the problem through this question and the reason why I would answer the one the same as the other.

    • cherylu

      Michael,

      Someone way back up the thread said they didn’t think there was a direct correlation between your question and the issue of marrying the wrong person. I think I tend to agree. Specially when it comes to the issue of someone deliberately going against God’s revealed will and a Christian marryng a non Christian like I have been speaking of.

      The person that was conceived through rape or incest had no place in this decision making at all. They had no choice if they were conceived or not. The person who would go against God’s will as revealed in the Bible and marry an unbeliever and then claim that one was the right one for them to choose to marry because God decreed they would marry them and God brought them together is a whole different point as far as I can tell.

      I am really not sure how you link the two together. In your scenario, I would say that God used what happened to bring about a new life.

      What I really want to know is, do you believe that God decreed ahead of time that the unbeliever was the one the Christian was to marry even if this is against His written Word? If not, how can you say that it is impossible to marry the wrong person? I am not talking about after the vows have been taken, I am talking about before that time.

      Sorry if I sound like a cracked record, but we seem to be talking past each other here. I am trying every way I know how to state what my real question is here!

      Would God decree that a Christian bring about His plan if in order to do so the Christian must sin to bring it about –especially if that plan is a lifetime of living in a situation that God says is not one a Christian is to put themselves in?

    • phantom

      I don’t see how it is helpful to say that it was “God’s will” for you to marry the person you married, any more than it is helpful to say that God decreed it would rain today. We are saying that God, in his sovereignty, has decreed everything that will happen, and then observing that something has happened (eg you are married to someone), and therefore concluding that what has happened is God’s will (eg you are married to the right person). This is self-evident and meaningless. It is God’s will that I was born on April 13 rather than April 14, and if I had been born on April 14, or if I had been aborted, that would have been God’s will too. We have simply defined all past events as God’s will… (my point is that this is not descriptive, not that this is untrue from a causal perspective–unless we allow randomness to have a causal effect in the universe, which I realize I neglected to consider in my previous comment)

      In any case, I believe it would be more helpful to say that God is capable of fixing your relationship no matter how insufficient you and your spouse are.

    • C Michael Patton

      Cheryl,

      God decreed before time to allow for sin. Once that bite was taken, if he was going to decree anything else, it was going to work through sin.

      However, I don’t like to use the word “decree” in these context unless qualified. As you may know, I would distinguish between God’s “Will of Decree” and his “Will of Desire.” All that he decrees (having only sinful people to work with) is not always all that he desires.

      Back to my question (even if you don’t think it is relevant) how would you answer:

      If you were talking to someone whose birth was the result of a rape/incest union and they asked you, “Was it God’s will for me to be conceived?” What would you say?

    • cherylu

      I answered you question in my last comment. (I thought anyway). Beyond that, I am honestly not sure what my answer would be. I still don’t think your question really fits the context either. It seems to be sort of like comparing apples and oranges.

      BTW, if you read my conversation with Hodge yesterday, this whole thing I have been asking about concerns me particularly because it is Christian that we are talking about here. A Christian that is to be conformed to Jesus image. Therefore to say that it is the right person for a person to marry an unbeliever when they are a Christian (which involves actual sin on the Christians part) seems to go directly against what God is out to do in the Christian’s life.

      You know what, these discussions give me a headache after a while. They tend to make me feel like my brain has gotten turned inside out!!

    • phantom

      I like CMP’s question so I will answer it from two perspectives 🙂

      If you believe that God is in direct causal control of everything that happens, then you would say that God decreed for the person to be conceived, even though sinful means would be used.

      If you believe that God is not in direct causal control of everything that happens, then you would say that God is neutral on the issue of who is born (he lets our decisions being about reproduction), but he foreknows the people who will be born and uses them to achieve his ends.

      In the first case it is God’s Will of Decree that the person be born; in the second case God has no Will of Decree as far as who is or is not born; in both cases it is God’s Will of Desire that rape/incest not occur, but this has no bearing in either case on the person who is born out of rape/incest.

    • C Michael Patton

      No, you did not answer (at least directly), you just said that it did not really relate and explained how it did not relate.

      Eitehr way, I understand you fatigue. Please don’t feel pressure to continue here. Get some rest. You are very smart and on the right track in so many ways, even if we don’t see eye to eye here.

      • cherylu

        I also said, “In your scenario, I would say that God used what happened to bring about a new life.”

    • C Michael Patton

      The question is not whether God merely used it, but was it his will for that person to be born?

    • ruben

      Hi CMP, I’m actually in the same boat as you, married someone quickly against my better judgement and I constantly remind myself every time we have difficulties that this was my fault, pretty much God saying “I told you so!”. This is probably the one thing I don’t blame God for (I tend to be a whiny Christian at times), because it was clearly my willfulness that caused this. At the time of my decision I was thinking to myself that God’s overarching will will cover it and fix it eventually even if it is wrong but I know better now, I have sufferred for it. To me it makes little sense to say that God willed it anyhow, it makes more sense to say that I did not follow God at that point and I’m sorry.

    • Hodge

      Phantom:

      I think it’s helpful to understand that random choices and events did not cause you to make something occur that was not supposed to occur. If it was not God, then maybe one should always wonder if he or she is married to the wrong person. If it was God, then one can regret any sin committed, but can still have joy that even his or her disobedience was planned and the person to whom he or she is married is in fact the person he or she was meant to marry.

      • phantom

        Hodge,
        I read your first sentence like five times and my brain is not making sense of it. What comment of mine are you responding to?

        • Hodge

          The comment where you said you don’t see how it is helpful to say that something is according to God’s will, since it’s descriptive (#50).

          • phantom

            I was just making the point that a bunch of theologians telling you it’s God’s will is not very helpful. Like when someone gets cancer and everyone says “oh, it was God’s plan.” I don’t see how that is encouraging. We ought to focus on how God can fix relationships, not on whether he fatalistically arranges them.

            That said I am pretty sure that everyhting is more-or-less fatalistically arranged.

    • Lisa Robinson

      David (#39)

      You asked if even our bad choices are within God’s will, what is the point of seeking his will.

      The difference is that sin is still transgression and will still impact us. It may be within God’s will in the sense that he uses it for His purpose, but we suffer the consequences for it. Ideally, we obey, maintain peace and fellowship and enjoy the fruit of that.

      So in the case of a believer marrying an unbeliever, it is sin and judgment will ensue. But that choice is not outside of God’s will, even if he desired something far better.

      • david carlson

        But that choice is not outside of God’s will, even if he desired something far better.

        what?

        If he desires something better, how cannot that better be his will? And if that is his will, how can it not be accomplished?

    • Hodge

      Cheryl,

      “But in the NT, people were disciplined and removed from fellowship for many reasons if they remained unrepentant.”

      Yes, that’s true. The same in the OT. The difference is that marrying an unbeliever, in both the OT and the NT, is a repudiation of YHWH/Christ. Other sins maybe hostile toward God, but they are not necessarily a wholesale repudiation of Christ. To marry a person of a foreign god is to be/become a person of a foreign god. To marry an unbeliever is to be/become an unbeliever. I think that makes most sense of the biblical evidence.

    • Lisa Robinson

      Hodge,

      You don’t think that a believer can grieve the Spirit to the extent that they make a bad choice to marry an unbeliever? If they do so, they were never saved? I’m sorry, but I don’t see the Biblical evidence supporting that or that they are rejecting Christ. Is that what you would tell that young woman in your church whom you baptized, that otherwise had exhibited fruits of Christianity, that she is not a believer for insisting to enter into such a marital union?

      Also, what do you do with the believer who enters into a union with one whom they believe to be saved only to find out that the person was not a believer AFTER they have been married? Are you saying THAT person was never saved because they entered into a union they understood to be between two believers?

    • Lisa Robinson

      Hodge,

      You don’t think that a believer can grieve the Spirit to the extent that they make a bad choice to marry an unbeliever? If they do so, they were never saved? I’m sorry, but I don’t see the Biblical evidence supporting that or that they are rejecting Christ. Is that what you would tell that young woman in your church whom you baptized, that otherwise had exhibited fruits of Christianity, that she is not a believer for insisting to enter into such a marital union?

      Also, what do you do with the believer who enters into a union with one whom they believe to be saved only to find out that the person was not a believer AFTER they have been married? Are you saying THAT person was never saved because they entered into a union they understood to be between two believers?

    • phantom

      Hodge,
      You are implying either that someone who marries an unbeliever must not be a Christian (it is not possible for a Christian to commit that kind of sin), or else that God cannot forgive the sin of marrying an unbeliever.

      I know a woman who is a dedicated Christian who is married to an atheist (they are in their 60s, no sign of the man converting) so the first option is empirically false; and the second is Biblically false. What, then, is the basis for your assertion that a Christian cannot marry an unbeliever?

    • Hodge

      “Is that what you would tell that young woman in your church whom you baptized, that otherwise had exhibited fruits of Christianity, that she is not a believer for insisting to enter into such a marital union?”

      Yes, I would.

      “Also, what do you do with the believer who enters into a union with one whom they believe to be saved only to find out that the person was not a believer AFTER they have been married?”

      How is being deceived a willful unrepentant act unless one was willfully deceived? I’m not talking about the mere union, but the willful rejection of the faith through it. Read Num 25:6-13; Mal 2:11-12 (notice that the one who marries the daughter of a foreign god is to be cut off from worship); 1 Tim 5:11; 2 Cor 6:14-18 (notice that God will be their Father if they come out and are separate from them, not before).
      I think 1 Tim 5:11 is best interpreted in light of the OT evidence:

      “But refuse [to put] younger widows [on the list], for when they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ, they want to get married, [thus] incurring damnation, because they have set aside their previous faith.”

      Phantom:

      Your arguments here are like saying this: “You don’t think a person is a Christian just because they commit the sin of rejecting Christ?” It seems silly, doesn’t it? This isn’t just a sin. It’s THE sin. If this sin isn’t a repudiation of Christ, then of course, one may do it and still be a Christian. I simply don’t believe that a Christian repudiates Christ.

    • Hodge

      “I know a woman who is a dedicated Christian who is married to an atheist (they are in their 60s, no sign of the man converting) so the first option is empirically false;”

      You empirically verified that she was a Christian? Did you ascend to heaven to accomplish such a feat?

      “and the second is Biblically false.”

      I never said one cannot be forgiven. I said that they were not a Christian when they did it. I explicitly said that they may become one later. I believe all sorts of pseudo-believers, or even people on their way, marry unbelievers and then become real believers. I’m talking about what a Christian does and does not do. They do not repudiate Christ and the Faith.

    • Lisa Robinson

      Hodge, I find your reasoning untenable. If a believer enters into an sinful union with an unbeliever, he or she is rejecting 1) God’s design for marriage; 2) God’s mandate on moral conduct and 3) their own preservation of healthy fellowship with the Father.

      In 2 Corinthians 6:14-16, Paul’s entreaty to not be unequally yoked with unbelievers infers that one CAN be unequally yoked with an unbeliever. If the act itself of entering into the union denies Christ, then how is one able to come to Christ in the first place if they are a believer and their spouse is not? Based on your logic that would have to be the case and yet we find in 1 Peter 3 and 1 Corinthians 7 where believers are married to unbelievers.

    • cherylu

      Hodge,

      Rather then argue the point any more at this time, I just want to comment that I have never heard any one else interpret this Scirpture in this way. It is a new one to me! I am wondering if you came to this conclusion on your own or are there others out there that you could point us to that have the same take on this?

    • Hodge

      Lisa,

      I find your reasoning unbiblical (and yes, I read your previous post ;)). You didn’t offer anything but your own personal view of what you think marrying an unbeliever is. Where’s your interaction with the biblical data?

      By your logic, if I say a Christian ought not become an unbeliever, it means that Christians can become unbelievers. Paul is talking to a group of people that profess Christ. If their confession is true, then they will obey the command. If not, they won’t. It simply does not imply that a regenerate Christian will do this.

    • Hodge

      Cheryl,

      I don’t know of others. I came to this on my own. We’re moving more as a church toward acceptance of any sin and any person into what we consider the sphere of Christianity due to our radical rejection of exclusivism, so I wouldn’t think a lot of people would be with me on it. Does that diminish the likelihood that it’s true for you?

    • Hodge

      “Based on your logic that would have to be the case and yet we find in 1 Peter 3 and 1 Corinthians 7 where believers are married to unbelievers.”

      Can you point out in those texts where it says that these believers married unbelievers after they became believers, or is it more likely that these are first generation believers and they were already married as unbelievers?

    • cherylu

      Hodge,

      Two things. First of all you can use the same logic you are using with any sin, not just this one. If a person’s confession is true, they will obey the commandment. So any time a professing Christian sins, that would mean they were an unbeliever.

      Like Lisa, I just don’t see how this situation is “repudiating Christ”. Sinning yes. Grieving the Spirit, yes. Putting yourself in a very bad place spiritually, yes. Setting yourself up for a lot of pain and heartache because the two worldviews and kingdoms just don’t mesh, yes. But repudiating Christ, no. That could be the case if a person goes into it with the attititude that they are giving up on Him to marry this person. But I don’t believe it is necessarily the case at all.

      Secondly, yes it does make it more unlikely to me that your interpretaion is true if you are the only one believing it. Seems like if it is true there would surely be others that see the same thing as you do.

    • Lisa Robinson

      I am not saying they married unbelievers after they came to saving faith. The text does not say that but rather suggests that they came to Christ after being married. But I am saying that you are segregating this sin from others such that committing it is a rejection of Christ because of the nature of the marital union. My point is that if it is based on nature of the union, then how can a believer be married to an unbeliever and still proclaim Christ? If it is possible for one who believes to be married to one who does not believe then why is it not possible for one who believes to enter into that union with one who does not believe.

      You say that they reject Christ, but I say they have allowed sin to cloud judgment to see Him fully and clearly, and thus are being disobedient. There is a big difference between one who rejects the saving work of Christ and one who trusts in the saving work of Christ, but is disobedient.

      Also, based on your logic, you would have to say the same thing about a spouse who has an extra-marital affair. The problem is sin in the regenerate not a sign of being unregenerate. Although it can be the case that one is unregenerate. But to say that one necessarily does not believe if they marry an unbeliever is creating a premise that I don’t find supported by scripture.

    • cherylu

      Hodge,

      In John 14:23-24 Jesus tells people that if they love Him they will keep His commandments and the Father will love that one and God will make His abode with him.

      Is not this a very similar, if not the same statement as what we find in the II Cor 6 passage you have talked about above? Yet here it is a general statement about all of our life, our love for Him, and our obedience to Him. It certainly does not single out marriage to an unbeliever as a sin that makes it impossible for a person to be a Christian at that time. All commandments and sins are included in the John passage.

      To me this just reinforces the idea that disobedience to the commandment in II Cor 6 is no more an actual repudiation of Christ then any other sin is.

    • cherylu

      Lisa,

      You made very good points in your last comment. I agree with you.

    • phantom

      Ok Hodge, so you don’t believe that the woman I spoke of who is married to an atheist is a believer. On what basis do you believe she is not Christian? (Certainly you are not claiming to know she lacks Christian qualities or fails to produce Christian fruit, both of which I can attest to, since you have never met her).

      I will answer the question for you 🙂 You believe she is not Christian on the basis of knowing she is married to an atheist. That is called circular reasoning.

      Furthermore, since you concede that a nominal believer may marry and later become an actual believer (I don’t remember your exact wording), could that not be the case for her? Couldn’t I say about anyone who marries an unbeliever that they were an unbeliever at the moment they were married, but aftweword they became a believer again? Although being married to another believer is advisable, it seems absurd to use it as a litmus test for someone’s salvation.

    • cherylu

      Hodge,

      In several New Testament books there are lists of sins given that we are told that we are to turn from. It even goes as far as to say that “those that do these things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God”.

      It seems to me that using your logic, one would have to say that if someone ever commited one of these sins, it would have to mean that they were not a Christian, would it not? Is that not a logical extension of what you are saying?

      Can we say we are so perfect since we came to the Lord that we have never once been guilty of any of these things? Even such a thing as envy is listed here. Ever envied anyone or anything since you became a Christian?

    • Hodge

      Cheryl,

      “Two things. First of all you can use the same logic you are using with any sin, not just this one.”

      No, you can’t. Most sins are punctiliar in nature, not a life-long commitment to join the temple of Satan in repudiation of the temple of God. You can do this with any unrepentant sin, sure; but I’m talking about committing the act. Any sin, once committed and embraced, about which the person remains unrepentant may indicate that the individual is not a believer; but this is a sin that indicates that by the very act, not simply the willingness to repent later.

      Lisa,

      “But I am saying that you are segregating this sin from others such that committing it is a rejection of Christ because of the nature of the marital union.”

      No, it is the nature of the will and love in the act of the individual, not the nature of the union. I thought I made that clear. The willingness and love one has to join with one who’s life shuns Christ and embraces the devil is the issue. The unbelievers who marry, where one becomes a believer, is not an issue.

      “The problem is sin in the regenerate not a sign of being unregenerate.”

      Actually, it is. It just depends upon what kind of sin is present. I think the Bible is really clear on that. But beside that point, I don’t think you’re getting what I’m saying. I’m saying that the act of marrying an unbeliever is the same act as joining the cult of Baal, or a cult of the devil in disregard to one’s supposed faith in Christ. The passages I gave you, which you have not engaged yet again, indicate that this is in fact a repudiation of Christ, and therefore, one that bring about damnation for the individual. You’re arguing with the Scripture here, especially Paul, not me.

    • Hodge

      Here’s my question to all of you: Can a Christian decide to worship another god and join a cult for the rest of his or her life and likely be a Christian? If so, is your idea supported by the Bible. If not, why could I not argue the same things you have been in regard to what I said (e.g., aren’t all sins forgivable, since Christians aren’t supposed to do it, it probably means that Christians can do it and still be Christians, you’re singling out one sin above others, etc.)?

    • cherylu

      Back to my statement that no one else believing this that I or you know about makes it suspect. At least as to it’s orthodoxy, what do you think about Michael Patton’s statement about orthodoxy as being that which has been believed everywhere, always, and by everyone?

      It seems to me your belief here fails in all three of those areas. Doesn’t that make you wonder at least a little bit if you are viewing this correctly?

    • cherylu

      Hodge,

      Why do you think that a Christian marrying an unbeliever means that she/he has decided to worship a false god or to turn her back on the true God? She might be united in flesh to the person she marries, (or he marries) but that does not mean that she will join that person in every thought and motive of heart, or action either for that matter.

    • Hodge

      Phantom:

      “Ok Hodge, so you don’t believe that the woman I spoke of who is married to an atheist is a believer.”

      No, I said I don’t believe she was a believer when she did it based on the Scriptural data.

      “Certainly you are not claiming to know she lacks Christian qualities or fails to produce Christian fruit, both of which I can attest to, since you have never met her”

      No, but neither am I claiming that my Mormon friends lack Christian qualities or fail to produce what looks like Christian fruit. In fact, they do more so than most evangelicals I know. That’s why there are wheat and chaff analogies. That’s why Paul says that Satan’s servants look like servants of righteousness (2 Cor 11:14-15). My point is that you don’t know if it is Christian fruit or not. You have no empirical way of knowing beyond the rest of us. We only have the Scripture that tells us what a Christian is and does and what a Christian isn’t and doesn’t do.

      “That is called circular reasoning.”

      I must have missed where you showed this to be circular reasoning. A Christian is committed to faith in God and does not become one with someone who is not. To do so, is to reject the Faith and be joined to another god. A Christian will not be joined to another god. Ergo, one who does is not a Christian. How is that circular?

      “Furthermore, since you concede that a nominal believer may marry and later become an actual believer (I don’t remember your exact wording), could that not be the case for her?”

      I said a pseudo-believer or someone on his or her way to becoming one, meaning that he or she is not a believer at the time. Of course you could say that maybe she wasn’t and now is (if she is repentant). That’s not what we’re discussing. And the litmus test for someone who is a Christian is whether they have a faith allegiance to Christ. If someone has a faith allegiance to Zeus instead, I think it’s a good indication that they are not a Christian. To marry an…

    • Lisa Robinson

      Hodge,

      No, I’m debating your interpretation of the passage. The fact that Paul commanding them not to, means its something they can do. His reasoning does not suggest that the one who makes such a decision is repudiating Christ but is commending those who are considering such a decision to understand the incompatibility of the two contradictory world views because of who they are in Christ. He is not saying, if you do this you are not a believer but rather, because you are a believer you should not do this.

      You say,

      “The willingness and love one has to join with one who’s life shuns Christ and embraces the devil is the issue.”

      How does that differ from other sin? The believer whose judgment is impaired and set to embark on disobedience is not joining the devil (at least not in their minds) but is acting out of fleshly, selfish desire to want what they want. If they join the unbeliever because they want to live as an unbeliever then I would say your position stands. But that is different than being blinded and deceived and acting out on desires. But that speaks to motive, something that none of us can know.

      The reality is many believers who make this kind of decision think they are smarter than the Word and that it won’t make a difference only to discover the harsh reality that the passage is there for a reason.

    • Lisa Robinson

      I should correct something I said. I can’t possibly know what is in the mind of believers who marry unbelievers as that would be contradictory to one of my main points. But I would bet that most believers entering into a union are not doing so because they wish to turn away from Christ, the same way that believers fall into sin – there is not an intent to turn from Christ. Rather, it is most likely that he or she wants to have their cake and eat it too, something that all of us are prone to to one degree or another.

      So again I reiterate that it is possible for one to become engulfed by sinful desires that all perspective is lost, the Holy Spirit is grieved and judgment ensues. I think James had something to say about that. Oh and Paul too (see chapter 6).

    • Hodge

      “It seems to me your belief here fails in all three of those areas. Doesn’t that make you wonder at least a little bit if you are viewing this correctly?”

      Cheryl,

      I’m talking about what people believe today. If you want orthodoxy then here’s an example of it:
      “A man of the Faith is not permitted to marry a woman who is not of the Faith, nor is a woman of the Faith to be joined to a man who is not of the Faith. But if anything like this appears to have been done by anyone, we require them to consider the marriage null, and that the marriage be dissolved. For it is not fitting to mingle together what should not be mingled, nor is it right that the sheep be joined to the wolf, nor the lot of sinners with the portion of Christ. But if anyone shall transgress the things which we have decreed, let him be cut off. (Quinisextene Ecumenical Council, Canon LXXII)

      I think the marriage here is being annulled rather than a divorce taking place (otherwise there is conflict with other orthodox doctrines on marriage).

      There’s no official pronouncement if that’s what you’re looking for, other than this and implications by what is said in other confessions and writings.

      • cherylu

        Hodge,

        The marriage being declared null and void is not the same thing as saying the person was not a Chrisitan. No one is arguing either, that marrying an unbeliever is “fitting”. But neither is this statement you have quoted in any way saying that the person was not a Christian that made this choice. People that sinned in the New Testament were to be cut off from the fellowship of believers as a discipline, to bring about repentance and to protect the rest. That didn’t mean they were not Christians because they did what they did in the first place.

        • Hodge

          Cheryl,

          It’s the last statement. What if the person doesn’t want to annul the marriage? What if they want to marry the unbeliever? What does it say?
          “Let him be cut off.”

    • phantom

      A Christian is committed to faith in God and does not become one with someone who is not. To do so, is to reject the Faith and be joined to another god. A Christian will not be joined to another god. Ergo, one who does is not a Christian. How is that circular?

      You have defined that a Christian can’t marry an unbeliever and then stated that therefore someone who marries an unbeliever is not a Christian. This is circular; it cannot be empirically falsified.

    • Hodge

      Lisa,

      He doesn’t comment explicitly on whether they are believers or unbelievers. He’s instructing believers (i.e., those who have a profession–Paul doesn’t know who is regenerate). The point I am making is that from this passage and the one in 1 Tim 5:11, Paul seems to be making it clear that God is the Father of the one who is not unequally yoked with an unbeliever. You’re assuming that a regenerate believer can do something that professed believers are commanded not to do. My point is that a regenerate believer will obey the command and not do it. Your argument essentially says that a command assumes the possibility of disobeying that command. If that is the case, then the command given to the elect to accept the gospel can be disobeyed and they can still be the elect. That is a completely absurd argument. Commands don’t assume that those who disobey them are still in right standing with the one who gives them. That is just patently false.

      “How does that differ from other sin?”

      How does redirecting one’s life-long allegiance away from Christ to the devil differ from other sin? I don’t know, I guess there’s no such thing as an apostate in your mind.

      “But I would bet that most believers entering into a union are not doing so because they wish to turn away from Christ, the same way that believers fall into sin – there is not an intent to turn from Christ.”

      And most “believers” don’t become cultists because they desire to reject Christ. That has nothing to do with it. The point is that one loves the devil more than Christ. Hence, Christ is rejected as one’s first deity and demoted to second in the pantheon. You’re confusing what one wants to do in the negative with what one wants to do with what is positive in their minds. I don’t want to give up money, but I really want that car, so………..

      • cherylu

        Hodge,

        Any time someone sins, they are in effect demoting Christ from the place of “first deity” and putting something else there instead.

        And like Lisa said, I seriously doubt most Christians that would marry someone that was an unbeliever do so intending to put God on the back burner. Maybe some do. But like with most other sins, I think we are all great rationalizers and think that somehow this sin simply will not make that big of a difference.

        • Hodge

          Cheryl,

          Did you read my comment? No one thinks about rejecting God and going to hell either. That’s irrelevant. It doesn’t matter how one thinks about it. It’s what’s being done. I can think I’m painting a pretty picture by spilling paint all over the floor, but I’m still ruining your floor nonetheless. How I think about my crime has nothing to do with what that crime accomplishes. I am committing an anti-creational sin by marrying an unbeliever, repudiating the community of Christ, and repudiating my faith in Christ. That seems clear. If it was not so, then there really is no reason for God to reward Phineas for killing the dude who married a foreign wife. There’s no reason for Paul to say that younger widows have damned themselves for setting aside their previous faith in disregard to Christ (btw, it literally says that they are drawn away from Christ, being condemned, having set aside their previous faith).

    • Hodge

      Phantom:

      LOL. I didn’t realize that divine revelation needs to be empirically verified. I’m not an empiricist, so I’m not with you there. I could have easily said:

      A Christian accepts Christ. Therefore one who accepts Christ is a Christian. Is that circular too?

      • phantom

        We are in dispute as to the meaning of the divine revelation (I agree w/ Lisa’s post #81). Therefore I pointed out that I know a Christian who is married to an unbeliever, which falsifies your argument. You have merely asserted that she is actually not a Christian based on your presupposed interpretation of scripture. I do not believe that we must empirically verify divine revelation; I do believe that the universe is rational and that therefore empirical data should confirm and shed light on divine revelation.

        • Hodge

          The problem is in your statement that you “know” that the woman is a Christian. You keep saying that this is empirical verification which falsifies my argument. It doesn’t do any such thing. You have no ability to know whether she is a Christian or not apart from divine revelation. Simply saying that she appears to have a righteousness is not evidence because we know from divine revelation that the servants of Satan appear to have a righteousness. We also know by divine revelation that those who marry an unbeliever are to be cut off from the community, acknowledging their true status as unbelievers. I see no weight or consistency to the argument you are presenting.

    • Hodge

      “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world , the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world , the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and [also] its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.”

      So here’s another one. A Christian does not love the world. Therefore one who loves the world is not a Christian. Is that not what this passage says? Is it circular?

    • cherylu

      Hodge,

      Any sin we do is loving the world at the moment it is done is it not? And I still don’t see why you are so convinced that to marry an unbeliever means that person is repudiating Christ. Married people have differing belief systems all of the time. Doesn’t mean the person is planning on buying into the other person’s beliefs–or lack thereof. But it sure does mean they are in for a hard ride.

      But, I give up. This conversation is going nowhere. Since you seem to be determined to place marrying an unbeliever in a class of sins all by itself that proves a person is not a Christian, so be it.

      As far as I am aware and by your own admission, you are still the one and only that believes this. And so far any way, you haven’t shown that anyone in the past believed it either. Maybe you are right and all of the rest of the world is l00% wrong. Myself I find that a little bit unlikely. Possible but certainly not at all probable.

      • Hodge

        “Any sin we do is loving the world at the moment it is done is it not?”

        So John is saying that anyone who sins at any time does not have the love of the Father within him? John seems to paint these people as unbelievers, so it is not a matter of simply sinning.

    • cherylu

      Hodge,

      I’m sorry if I sounded harsh in my last comment. My basic understanding is still the same. But my tone could of used some improving.

    • Lisa Robinson

      Hodge,

      You said:

      “You’re assuming that a regenerate believer can do something that professed believers are commanded not to do. My point is that a regenerate believer will obey the command and not do it.

      So it is impossible for a believer to sin, to become influenced by sin and make wrong choices? All believers obey 100% of the time or they are not believers? C’mon, read Romans 6 and sin becoming slave master if we yield our instruments to it. And what on earth was going on with the Corinthians church? They were all being obedient?

      Then you said,

      “Your argument essentially says that a command assumes the possibility of disobeying that command.

      Yes, that is why we have commands because there is the likelihood that we will do it.

      Then you said,

      “If that is the case, then the command given to the elect to accept the gospel can be disobeyed and they can still be the elect.

      Election is different than the believer’s volitional will to sin. Whom God has chosen will respond to his effectual call but that does not preclude the elect’s ability to engage in sinful acts.

      Its interesting you bring 1 Timothy 5:11 since all that demonstrates is that sin can cause our passion to shift from Christ. But that does not necessarily mean a repudiation of Christ. How does that contradict anything I’ve said?

      Anyways, I’m with Cheryl. You still insist that one who marries an unbeliever must not be a believer themselves and it seems obvious that you are intent to believe that.

      • Hodge

        “So it is impossible for a believer to sin, to become influenced by sin and make wrong choices? ”

        Lisa,

        Is it that you can’t argue a good case for your position that you have to distort mine and refute a strawman? Answer my question: Is it possible for a regenerate Christian to reject Christ and worship Baal for the rest of his life instead? If you say no, then I’ll just proceed with your line of reasoning: Are you saying, Lisa, that Christians don’t sin? Read Romans 6, etc. etc.

        “Election is different than the believer’s volitional will to sin. Whom God has chosen will respond to his effectual call but that does not preclude the elect’s ability to engage in sinful acts.”

        Uh oh, a chink in the armor. 😉 My whole point is that this is an issue of election. The believer will not repudiate Christ, but remain a believer. My whole point is that marrying an unbeliever is to deny the Faith, something the elect will not do. Do you understand this point? You may disagree that marrying an unbeliever is the act of repudiation, but gimme a break, at least acknowledge that I’m not saying a sin causes someone to lose their salvation or that Christians never sin, etc.

    • cherylu

      Hodge,

      I don’t like this format of sub comments. It is way too easy to miss something that has been said. I just noticed a comment of yours way back up there somewhere. I have no idea what you mean by an “anti-creational sin.” Can you explain that to me?

      • Hodge

        Sure, it works against God’s goal for human beings to be covenant images of Himself. The children humans are to have are to be covenant children. To marry an unbeliever is to shun the procreative purpose of God in creation to raise up godly children. That’s just one of the things that is wrong with it.

    • phantom

      “A Christian does not love the world. Therefore one who loves the world is not a Christian.”

      That does not mean we do not slip up sometimes and commit an act out of love of the world. You seem to be saying that a Christian by definition must be unable to sin. You are taking those passages out of the context of the greater scriptural narrative, which shows people doing the wrong thing over and over and nevertheless receiving forgiveness. The point of the passage you quoted is that we should not love the world more than God because it is sinful–it was not intended as a diagnostic for who is and isn’t Christian.

      • Hodge

        My point in quoting the passage is that it’s not circular. However, it IS meant to be a diagnostic for who is and isn’t a Christian. That is John’s whole purpose, i.e., for those who are saved to identify themselves in distinction to those who are not saved. Hence, they can know that they are saved when they affirm orthodoxy and orthopraxis in contrast to those who do not. He states it pretty explicitly.
        Again, this is talking about a repudiation of God for the world. Just like marriage to an unbeliever is a repudiation of Christ for a follower of the devil.

    • cherylu

      Hey Hodge,

      I just thought of something! Correct me if I am wrong, but aren’t you the one that has spoken often about the need to have the church interpreting Scripture? In fact, if I remember correctly, someone recently asked you why you weren’t Catholic or EO if you feel so strongly about that? Or do I have you confused with someone else?

      If my memory is correct and you have indeed spoken of that need more then once, what is up with you out here riding a lone horse on this issue anyway??!?? 🙂

    • Hodge

      Cheryl,

      I’ve already commented that orthodoxy agrees with me. Anyone who defiantly marries an unbeliever when the Scripture clearly teaches that it is a devotional issue to God is to be cut off. The Church doesn’t excommunicate believers, but people who profess to be believers and are not.

      • cherylu

        The church excommunicates (in the Bible) those that are not willing to repent at that time of a sin they have committed. Does that mean that all of those folks are automatically unbeliever’s? I don’t think so. Disobedient Christians but not necessarily unbeliever’s.

        And by the way, you are the one that said you are the only one that you know of that takes this stand, remember?

    • Hodge

      I disagree that they are just believers who are unrepentantly disobedient. I think that is an oxymoron. I think a believer can be disobedient, but not to where he rejects the Holy Spirit through other Christians and finally the Church. So that’s an issue of disagreement for us. Christ says to let them be as an unbeliever to you, meaning that despite their confession and seeking to identify with you, do not identify them as believers. I believe those who actually repent later on become believers where they were not before.

      “And by the way, you are the one that said you are the only one that you know of that takes this stand, remember?”

      In regard to who currently holds my position, not in regard to the historic Church. There is diversity there too, but I think I am most consistent with the Fathers and councils here.

    • Hodge

      This sub-comment thing is getting confusing.

    • Lisa Robinson

      Hodge,

      You said,

      “Is it that you can’t argue a good case for your position that you have to distort mine and refute a strawman?”

      That is your assertion. I don’t see where I have distorted it so let me see if I can summarize

      You indicate that one who is truly regenerate cannot choose to marry an unbeliever because that is choosing to align oneself with Satan, and therefore repudiates Christ. Am I right? Did you not say that the one who enters into such a union could not have been a genuine believer? Where is my strawman?

      Where I think we are missing each other is that you are differentiating this choice from a choice to engage in a sinful act. You are failing to acknowledge that the motive for engaging in a sinful act can be the same as the motive for entering into an unequal union – to fulfill fleshly desires. What is the difference between believer A who, in line with James 1:14-15, yields to the temptation to fornicate or commit adultery and believer B who wants to marry an unbeliever? In either case, they are choosing sin and disobedience over Christ. They are choosing self over Christ. Yet you say one is a rejection of Christ and one is not. Therefore believer A can be a believer but believer B cannot? Sorry, I fail to see that logic.

      And I find your example of the early church interesting in light of the sinning brother in 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 who was ex-communicated from the church. Yet Paul indicated in 2 Corinthians 2:7-8 to forgive and comfort him. So here we have an example of a believer who was excommunicated from fellowship but does not deny that he was a believer. Could not the same be true of the early church where believers were thrown out of fellowship for sinful unions? Does that necessarily deny the fact that they were believers?

    • Hodge

      Lisa,

      “Did you not say that the one who enters into such a union could not have been a genuine believer? Where is my strawman?”

      Where you’re missing me and creating the strawman is that I see this as the sin that rejects Christ, i.e., the same sin one commits when the gospel is preached to them and they reject it. Now, maybe you don’t see the gospel as something that proclaims and calls the individual to resign him or herself to Christ’s lordship, but I think the Bible indicates that this is the case. When one chooses to marry an unbeliever, he or she rejects that commitment, not just temporarily, as is the case with so many other sins, but as a life-long decision to reject Christ for this individual. It is the same thing as deciding to be a serial killer for the rest of your life, or to worship Krishna for the rest of your life. You may repent later and become a Christian, but I don’t believe you are one at the time you make that decision.
      So the strawman is that I am arguing that a Christian cannot sin, or that my argument implies that. That’s not my argument and it implies no such thing. My argument is that a Christian does not make a lifelong commitment to join in the worship of Satan with an unbeliever.

      “Yet Paul indicated in 2 Corinthians 2:7-8 to forgive and comfort him.”

      Because it brought him to repentance. Paul indicates that if it had not, the sorrow felt would have been one that leads to death. Paul also indicates that he gives him over to Satan so that the man might repent and be saved, indicating that he is not at the time Paul is speaking. Obviously, there is some ambiguity there, but I believe that is consistent with what is being said.
      Please explain to me 1 Tim 5:11 in light of your view. What is Paul saying here?

    • cherylu

      Hodge,

      Also in II Thessalonians chapter 3 people are told to not associate with a brother but rather to withdraw from those that are disobedient to anything that Paul has commanded. This may not be official excommunication. But they are told to not treat him as an enemy but to admonish him as a brother.

      • Hodge

        Cheryl,

        Actually, this proves my point that some sins are a repudiation of Christ and some are not. In 1 Cor and in Matt 18, the believers are instructed to treat the one who is in sin as an unbeliever. Paul seems to differentiate between an unruly life and sins like homosexuality, idolatry, etc. I would argue that marrying an unbeliever falls into the latter category, not the former, since for the latter Paul says that one who practices such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Do you know of many regenerate Christians who will not inherit the kingdom of God?

    • Dr Mike

      Lisa, Cheryl, phantom, et.al. –

      You’re not doing Hodge any favors by arguing with him: it only drives him further into his conviction that his private interpretations are correct. It should be clear to any and all by this point that he is hardly teachable and that he is fully convinced in his own mind of the wisdom of his novel position. Scripture has not left us without direction as to how to handle such people.

      Conversely, Scripture also instructs us to “give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser, teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning,” which is to say that we should invest our time with those who want to learn, not waste it with those who do not.

      • phantom

        I for one am participating in this conversation because it is more interesting than studying for midterms, not because I hope to convince anyone of anything 😉

    • Hodge

      Thanks for begging the question, Mike. It’s not you or the others who are unteachable. It’s me because I don’t hold your positions. Of course, this is not your private interpretation because you’re backed up by what?

    • Hodge

      Paul: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor [the] covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.”

      Lisa and Cheryl: Paul, Christians still sin. It’s not that some WERE some of us, but that we ARE still sinners. Hence, someone who practices these is not necessarily an unbeliever.

      Cheryl: Paul can you support your novel view with any of the other apostles or is it just yours? It’s probably not true if this is just your opinion.

      Dr. Mike: Paul is clearly unteachable since he holds a view different from mine and tries to defend it. I think we know what to do with such wretches.

    • Lisa Robinson

      “My argument is that a Christian does not make a lifelong commitment to join in the worship of Satan with an unbeliever.”

      They do if they are choosing to sin because they have been lured and blinded by temptation. Can’t say it any more clearer than that. We clearly disagree on this point. Enough said.

    • cherylu

      Hodge,

      I’m sorry, but that last comment does not make sense to me at all.

      And you DO have a novel interpretation. You can not prove that Paul was saying that someone that married an unbeliever was choosing to serve Satan for the rest of their life and repudiating the Lord. That is your interpretation of the matter. We see it as a union that is going to be a mess because of the vast difference of opinion, life style and allegiance there is between the two people.

      And it is novel because no one else seems to understand it the same way. Certainly not the church as a whole. It is, as you said, something that you came up with on your own.

    • Hodge

      Cheryl,

      I came to it on my own. I didn’t say that I alone held it or came up with for the first time. Those are two different statements.

      Lisa,

      I’m clear on what you’re saying. It’s just the exact opposite of what texts like 1 Cor 6:9-11, Matthew 7:21-23, etc. say to us. If your theology is to be consistent then ultimately these texts should not indicate that these particular people who “believe” in Christ are actually unbelievers. These texts should not suppose that someone who enters into lifelong rebellion is not saved. Instead, they indicate what the rest of the Bible indicates when it comes to marrying an unbeliever: that those who enter into such lifelong sins will not enter the kingdom of God.

      I am curious as to why no one has engaged 1 Tim 5:11. Is it because it becomes hard to understand once the obvious meaning is thrown away?
      And what exactly do we make of God rewarding Phineas for spearing a believer within the community for marrying an unbeliever? Do we say that he speared a brother in the Lord? I’m unfamiliar with God being pleased by brothers killing each other, but am familiar with God considering Israelites who did such things as unbelievers to be killed with the other Canaanite unbelievers.

      I think I’ve stated it in as many ways as possible and we are just not going to agree on this. I think it would help people understand that their rebellious decision to marry an unbeliever is a rejection of Christ, and as such, might sober them up and make them take what their doing more seriously. I think that’s the strength of the truth in this matter, but maybe telling them that it’s just the same as any other sin and they’re still believers anyway will work as well. I’ll give you the last word. Til we highjack another thread . . . 😉

    • Hodge

      I just wanted to post this text in its context:

      “But refuse [to put] younger widows [on the list], for when they feel sensual desires that draw [them] away from Christ, they want to get married, [thus] incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous faith. And at the same time they also learn [to be] idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper [to mention.] Therefore, I want younger [widows] to get married, bear children, keep house, [and] give the enemy no occasion for reproach; for some have already turned aside to follow Satan.

    • phantom

      I don’t see how you read that passage and assume that “following Satan” means “marrying an unbeliever,” as you appear to be asserting. After all he says “I want younger widows to get married” without qualification (eg. younger widows should get married to a believing man). Rather he lists a number of sins (gossips and busybodies, etc), which seems to me to be what he refers to when he talks about following Satan. I read “get married so you don’t become idle and a gossip”, not “get married to a believer so you don’t fall into the sin of marrying an unbeliever.”

      • Hodge

        Phantom:

        I think it’s a single pericope and the “drawn away by sensual desires from Christ” in v. 11 sets up a type of inclusio with “turning aside to follow Satan.” Turning from Christ and following Satan describes the acts that these young widows do, but note that the gossiping is something they also do as further evidence of their condemnation. The turning from following Christ, and the state of condemnation she is in, has already occurred in the marrying and setting aside of her first faith (v. 12).
        The question needs to be, For what are these widows condemned by marrying if in fact they are free to marry? They are not forbidden to marry by some sort of later practice where young women make oaths to shun marriage, and therefore, the church forbids them to marry, since Paul would consider this a doctrine of demons, as he previously stated. He also wouldn’t then tell them that he wants them to get married. Hence, it must be a marriage that is forbidden. The only type of marriage that we know that is forbidden and leads one away from Christ is marrying an unbeliever. Hence, Paul states in 1 Cor 7:39 that a widow is free to marry whoever she wishes, but only in the Lord. It is likely that the marrying of the unbeliever then is the issue that brings about her condemnation, as it is a following after Satan. Her gossiping, i.e., becoming a devil as a result of this, is further evidence of her condemnation.

    • cherylu

      Hodge,

      Since you seem to base so much of your belief on this subject on the Old Testament, I am really curious as to what you do with the verses starting at Deuteronomy 21:10?

      • Hodge

        Cheryl,

        Deuteronomy needs to be read carefully. It’s casuistic law. What that means is that it’s only prescriptive in the actual commands, not the descriptive background information. This is why God doesn’t approve of rape simply by mentioning that when a man rapes a woman, he is to marry her or provide support for her. Casuistic law simply takes a situation, describes it, and then prescribes what is to be done IF an injustice occurs. So it is only concerned here with how the woman is treated. It’s not commenting upon whether that woman has converted, as I would think would be the case if it is to be seen in continuity with the rest of the Scripture. Otherwise, if we interpret it the way you seem to be implying it ought to be, I don’t understand how you are not setting up a contradiction within the Scripture itself?

    • Susan

      Hodge, you know, up until now I have considered you to be one of the most right-on commenters here at P&P–now Credo House.

      Please take note:

      I married a man whom I truly believed was a brother in Christ. He had gone forward to receive Christ at an evangelistic concert before I met him. He was involved in the same college group I was in at church. He was a leader with the Junior High youth group at our church. He went to church every Sunday. He was interested in taking classes at the Bible institute while we were dating etc.

      After we married I soon realized that he was a a completely different person than the guy I had dated (as in Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde different!). My life soon became an unbelievably painful nightmare. My husband was full of rage and made a full time career of finding fault with me. I could not understand why God let me marry such a man when my constant prayer during my single years was, “Lord, let me marry a man who loves you more than me.” Over time I began to doubt that he was a true child of God. After 20 years of marriage I finally asked God to reveal to me whether my husband was truly His child or not. God answered that prayer. He showed me by letting my husband speak from his own mouth things which when I thought about it very clearly demonstrated that he did not love Christ…nor Christ in me. It was a pretty amazing answer to prayer. I asked God to help me to know what to do. One day we were out to eat and I felt God say, “Now”. OK! So, I told my husband of my doubts about him. He was characteristically defensive, but he heard me out (it helped that we were waiting for our food so he didn’t walk off). After that it was clear that my husband was really grappling with what I had said. I know that he was going before God with it. He had always had a lack of peace in his life, he told me. We had some of the best…and only conversations about spiritual matters that we had ever had in our entire marriage…

      • Hodge

        Susan,

        I hope you understand that what I’m saying has nothing to do with your situation. You did not purposely choose to marry an unbeliever. You were seeking Christ through the relationship. You were seeking to be obedient in the love of Christ. That’s not the same as someone who turns away from Christ to knowingly marry an unbeliever. I hope, if anything, I’ve made that clear.

    • Susan

      Crap! I just lost half of what I had written because I went over…but there was no warning!

      Hodge, continued:

      One day during Christmas vacation I turned on a Christian radio station (I usually didn’t when my husband was around because it bugged him). James McDonald was just starting a series called Don’t Drift Away (I think). It was addressed to thos in the Church who are false converts…but don’t know it. My husband was in the room, and we both listened intently. McDonald left no stone unturned beneath which my husband might hide. I couldn’t have ordered a more tailor-made for the situation sermon. God’s providence! That night my husband told me that he felt so convicted.

      Months later our pastor preached from Matthew 7, about the wise man vs. foolish…the wise man being the one who obeys Jesus’ words. Apparently my husband felt very convicted knowing that he was not obeying Jesus (Holy Spirit on scene). A week later my husband said, “I have something to tell you, “I’ve given myself completely to Jesus”. What an incredible moment. I felt an incredible peace wash over me from head to toe. I thought, “Finally! after all of these painful years of marriage…” I felt so much peace that I laid down and fell asleep.

      Since that day my husband immediately began to devour God’s word…feeling compelled to make up for lost time. He’s been a regular in the Word ever since, and is in a men’s Bible study now. He had a heart of stone…now, he has a heart of flesh, and he is a new creature.

      So, how do you thing I feel when you say that anyone who marries a non-Christian is not a Christian themselves?

      I have a friend who, as a young believer knowingly married a nonbelieving Jew. She has grown up in Christ so much since then (we’ve reunited on FB). It’s amazing how sanctifying being married to a nonbeliever can be (in very painful ways).

      Hodge, have you ever committed adultery with a woman in your heart by having…

    • Susan

      Hodge, I finished rewriting my story…and now see your comment. I still strongly disagree with you. I think that many an young Christian….or Christian who is lured into sin (by following their own desires) has married a nonbeliever.

      Do you also believe that it is sinful for a person to have a close friendship with someone of the opposite sex if they are married?

    • Hodge

      “I think that many an young Christian….or Christian who is lured into sin (by following their own desires) has married a nonbeliever.”

      We’re clearly not going to resolve this disagreement here, as I believe the pattern in Scripture is pretty clear and others think it is pretty clear the other way.

      “Do you also believe that it is sinful for a person to have a close friendship with someone of the opposite sex if they are married?”

      I’m not sure how this relates. Maybe your other comment was cut off that provides context? I think it depends upon the situation. If both husband and wife are close friends and it is in view of the spouse’s discernment, etc., it might be OK. I certainly would see an emotional attachment that was more than friendship, or a reliance on the other person that was greater than the reliance upon one’s spouse as sinful, as it is a neglect of the covenant made. But if you’re arguing that one can sin, or even commit adultery in the mind with an unbeliever, as a Christian, I would say that this isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m contrasting a life-long commitment to Christ with a life-long commitment to be one with a worshiper of the devil. A Christian can commit any sin, but I just don’t believe a genuine Christian commits the sin of lifelong apostasy.

    • Michael

      Hodge,

      Are you saying that marrying a unbeliever is a unforgivable sin or something?

    • Hodge

      Michael,

      No. I’m saying that marrying an unbeliever is a repudiation of the Faith, and therefore, making a life-long covenant that rejects Christ. Hence, I don’t believe a regenerate believer does this. I think many people who consider themselves believers and do this may or may not become believers in the future, but they need to repent of the sin they committed as a professed believer. Forgiveness is a different issue, as I believe anyone who genuinely repents of anything can be forgiven.

    • cherylu

      Hodge,

      Regarding your answer to me in comment # 108. (These sub comments are driving me nuts. I’ve decided I don’t like them at all. Have to keep rereading the thread to be sure you don’t miss something. Very confusing).

      If what you say is true, why didn’t God just extend the commandment given before and say something like, “Now folks remember, when you go to war you are not in any circumstance to take a foreign captive as your wife. But if you insist on disobeying me, this is how you are to treat her.”

      If God was always extremely upset with someone for marrying a foreign wife, it seems quite odd that He would here just tell them of the proper way to do it and then have all of these guys running around that He was furious with about it.

      • Hodge

        Cheryl,

        That’s just the way casuistic law works. We might want God to say, “Hey look, don’t ever rape someone because I hate it, but if you do, you’re going to take care of that person.”

        The problem is that casuistic law is usually economic in nature, not a generalization of morality. So it doesn’t contain everything the person giving the law code thinks about morals and what everyone should and should not do. It does have other factors in it that we consider moral, but even these are usually governmental issues and dealing with things that conflict with the overall economic justice of the community. There is, of course, more of what we’re looking for in the blessings and cursings treaty formula in Deuteronomy, but it still remains incomplete.

      • cherylu

        I think what I am really saying here is, are you sure this passage in Dt. 21 is not an exception to the general rule given, not just a regulation of something that is bound to happen which is against the rule?

        If it is indeed an exception to the rule, that would indicate to me anyway, that this whole thing is not as serious as you make it out to be. God would not make an exception if it was something that was so terrible that it automatically condemened a person as an unbeliever as you think it does, would He? It doesn’t seem likely to me.

        That would be like saying, “This is the proper way to go about having yourself condemned.”

        It certainly comes across in this passage as permitting this type of marriage as alright. Which could not be the case if it is not an exception to the rule.

        • Hodge

          So would you say the same thing about raping women? I’m sorry, Cheryl, but this isn’t just my opinion. Every scholar I know agrees with me on this one. Deuteronomy is not teaching generalized morality and ethics in its protases.

          And I do have to say that if your interpretation was correct, it’s not simply contradictory toward my position, but yours as well. If God is really OK or apathetic to where it’s not really that big of a deal then why in the world does He reward Phineas for spearing the man who marries the Midianite woman? Why does Ezra pull out the hair of the men who marry foreign wives? Why are the kings who marry foreign wives in the Deuteronomic history portrayed as apostates? God should really have no issue with it if He’s giving concession here. I just think that’s an abuse of the law code.

          • cherylu

            OK,

            So I am trying to work this one through (this section of Deut) in my mind.

            And, IMO I’m not altogether sure it works to compare this one to rape. There are several different laws given about how rape was handled depending on the circumstances and who was raped. I haven’t gone back and reread all of that now so please don’t hold me to that statement, but that is my off the top thought on that at the moment.

            But I can’t help but wonder why these men that took these women that were captured in combat as wives were not at all punished for it, killed for it, excommunicated for it or something if they were betraying their faith and their part in the covenant community like you believe they were. Why were only some treated that way and these let go with a simple, “If you do this, do it right?” It doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe I am missing something here.

            • Hodge

              Cheryl,

              I think that the women converted either by just conforming to their husbands’ sentiments or genuinely; but that’s not in the passage. I’m assuming that from the other statements concerning the issue. The point of this text is not to discuss that though. The point is only that the foreign woman is not to be considered trash just because she is foreign. The man who marries her still needs to treat her justly.

    • phantom

      Just a thought–
      Hodge, you keep mentioning Phineas. God’s desiring someone’s death represents his judgement on that person, not on the sin in general. He had tons of people killed after the golden calf incident – does that mean a believer cannot commit idolatry?

      • cherylu

        I tried to make a similar point earlier. In the Old Testament people were killed for murder, adultery, fornication, idolatry, witch craft, blasphemy, necromancy, being disobedient to parents, (what have I missed??)

        So someone was killed because they married an unbeliever. That puts them in a huge group of people that were killed for their sin. So since the punishment was the same, is the sin of the same magnitude? Does someone that disobeys their parents repudiate the faith, does someone that commits adultery or fornication repudiate their faith? I don’t see how the fact that people were killed for this particular sin proves they were unbelievers any more then the fact that people were killed for many other kinds of sins in the Old Testament proves that they were unbelievers.

        By the way, were Ananias and Sapphira disobedient Christians or were they unbelievers? Did they repudiate their faith to rate instant death when they were found out?

        I see too many holes in your argument Hodge.

        • Hodge

          Actually, that was my point by quoting 1 Cor 6. Those who practice such things will not enter the kingdom of God because they are not real believers. God doesn’t kill believers for their crimes in the OT. He forgives them through sacrifice. He kills those who reject His lordship and defile the community as chaotic agents, i.e., as unbelievers. So I don’t think pointing out that God kills other apostates for other reasons helps your case all that much.
          God killing Christians in the NT is a bit different. Christians are not cut off from the community via death. The community is both heavenly and earthly. Israel in the OT is the community and to be cut off serves as a picture for the Church later on. So God may kill a Christian as a means of discipline; but that does not seem to be the same reason He kills people within the community in the OT. It seems there He actually is judging them and cutting them off.

    • Lee H

      God obvious doesn’t choose who we marry as shown by the bad/ unlucky choice mad by people.

      To think God has such control over our lives is comforting but founded and so sadly we left o make our own choice and our own mistakes and to live our own lives and so the goodness or evil of our lives is determined by us not by God. I wish God did more it seems He does not and unbearable pain and amazing riches fall upon to good and the evil alike.

    • cherylu

      Hodge,

      So are you saying that those that live such a life style on a continuing unrepentant basis now (speaking of all the type of things I mentioned above that people were killed for in the OT) are not believers, or are you saying that people that do them even once are not believers. In the OT they were killed for them if they did them even once.

      Just trying to clarify in my mind what you are actually meaning here.

    • phantom

      Hodge, you believe it is not possible for a believer to marry an unbeliever. If someone does marry an unbeliever, then either they were not actually a believer in the first place or the act of marriage coincides with and/or consists of revoking their faith.

      What about ignorance? What if someone reads the Bible and comes to the conclusion that it is fine for them to marry an unbeliever? The fact is, a lot of Christians are somewhat unclear as to what specific instructions from the OT and even NT “still apply” today.

      Or what about someone who is the first convert of their people? Say it is a woman and she has to marry in order to survive in her society. Furthermore the only hope of saving any of the men is through their wives. Has she revoked her faith by marrying an unbeliever? Or what about a woman who is forced into an arranged marriage? Is she actually an unbeliever since she chose not to run away?

    • Lisa Robinson

      All, I think this conversation has been exhausted here and it was a digression from the original post. However, any further discussions can be taken up on my pending post which should be up today, as it will be more relevant to the issues addressed in the conversation here.

    • Melanie Chiponda

      Samson married the wrong person and was destroyed, and so did Solomon. His wives turned his heart away God and I believe a person can marry the wrong person, Abigail married a vain person, Nabal. I think we should be very prayerful when searching for someone to marrry

    • Renese

      I believe that as believers we are asking the wrong question.

      Rather than ask if we married the wrong person, we should be asking if it was GOD’S SOVERIGN WILL for us to be with this person. I was married almost 7 years when my husband decided that he wanted a divorce. Although the shock of the news was horrific, I applauded his honesty before God admitting that he’d made a bad decision in asking me to marry him. I was upset with him for how he told me he wanted a divorce, but not for his decision.

      My life has been blessed in so many ways since we are no longer together. This is not to say that I wasn’t blessed while with him, but it’s a different type of blessing since God now has my full attention.

      By no means am I encouraging anyone to go run out and get a divorce, but we have to question what kind of life the person that was in GOD’S SOVEIGN WILL for our lives is having?

      We have to be real and admit that our decisions may have altered God’s will for our lives.

    • Nickname

      The Bible tells us that God hates divorce.
      And that blessed is the one who keeps a promise even when it hurts to do so.
      Scripture also tells us that man ruins his OWN life and then blames God.
      So if I rushed into marriage (and then only learned later the lesson that rushing into something is a sin) and the consequences of that sin are now ruining my own life … what it God’s plan for me to marry that person and did He join us together?
      It seems very clearly obvious that my spouse and I are ruining one another’s lives by being together and it seems extremely clear that we were extremely unwise to have married in the first place. It hardly seems possible to have a mutually destructive Christian marriage but we have apparently found out how to do it. We have such an awful relationship that it has reached the point of really seeing it as merciful to let one another go rather than put each other through senseless pain. Do we sit and stew in a mutually destructive marriage? Remember “God desires mercy not sacrifice?” What happens when remaining married takes on the form of religious sacrifice instead of mercy?

    • Sheri

      Now I have a question and I am wondering if anyone who reads this could maybe help me? I’m married. I am a Christian but I have been away from the Lord. My husband is very immature and everytime I ask him to take me to church, he doesn’t want to go. I grew up in church. I sang in church and it was a big part of my idenity. Ever since I have been with my husband, my whole life came to a stand still. I’m unhappy. He does not support my ideas. He acts jealous of my talents instead of standing behind me. He broke many promises he made me. I have prayed for him and tried to work out this marriage for 6-8 years but yet my life remains as Jona in the stomache of a whale! I can not move forward in my life. I am my husbands slave. he won’t let me work. He won’t let me drive. He won’t let me be independent. I dont even feel like we are married. He told me he hates when I help people. I love to do things for other people. It brings me joy. We tried some concealing from my pastor. My husband listened and agreed to the advice but did not follow through with anything. We haven’t been sexually active for 4 years! He wont even sleep in the same bed with me. So much time has past that I feel like my heart has already moved on. I want out. I don’t love him romantically. I only love him as if he were my brother. He wants me to stay and remain locked inside this house never to have any friends or to use my talents. Just stay home and cook, clean and make him happy. But never mind my happiness. Just let my gifts rot away to waste after so many people were blessed and touched their hearts through my talents.
      According to the bible, you are not allowed to divorce unless your partner committed adultery or they leave you as an unbeliever. But what about when the spouse neglects you? What does that classify under? What about all those times he continued viewing porn when I asked him to stop? What about when your spouse is lazy about love and marriage and you can’t reach them?

    • Anonymous

      Thank you so much for posting your story. I needed to read it because I am newly engaged and have second- guessed my relationship, worrying about whether or not I was marrying the “right” person. To tell you why I have these worries…during my last relationship (about 3 years ago), someone apparently prophecied to the guy I was talking to and told him he would end up marrying someone from the U.S. We met on a mission trip and it was a long distance relationship. Long story short, he never fully commited and I gave the relationship up believing it was not going to happen. Since then, I met the guy i’m marrying. We have so much in common and have such equal life goals. However, since our relationship wasnt fueled by physical attraction more than anything (as I feel all of my past relationships were), I have found myself second guessing myself when we would have arguments. We have been together for almost three years now and I don’t plan on giving up. But how do I give up the guilt and worry that maybe God is suposed to tell me this is right? Your post has helped because its reminded me of Gods soverienty. However, any encouraging feedback would be a blessing. Please no judgements.

      Thanks again.

    • StephB

      I speak from experience: when in doubt – don’t. If you have to talk yourself into marrying someone, you are marrying the wrong person, or at best the right person at the wrong time. I just “celebrated” my five year anniversary. 5 years of misery. I would say, hindsight being 20/20, this was not the person I was to marry and all those nagging doubts was the Holy Spirit trying to get my attention. I married out of guilt. 5 years and a two year old later and you can see how trapped one can become. Trust me, there is no rush. Pray. Seek godly counsel. And let the Lord go before you and make your paths straight. Wait for Him. He is a God of peace and as I’m sure you’ve probably experienced, even in the midst of a storm we can be at peace bc of Him. There is no reason this should be any different. Wait. Wait until you get that peace, whatever the decision. Thankfully, God uses our screw-ups. He has taught me a lot through these trying times. But why wander through the desert when you can take a direct route to the promised land?! Wait on the Lord! Hth!!!!

    • Karen

      Good Day, Glory be to God for this posting and I am in full agreement with you. While God allows us to make choices, He does not make mistakes. I know that it is a matter of the heart. (hardened or Christ-like-meek and humble) We get to choose. However, the vows are to each other and God. How do we know what God has put together? Did He allow you to marry? If marriage is ordained by God then who I married was of God, no matter how I look at it–I could say I out grew him , we made a mistake, he/I do not love anymore, they cheated on me. The choice is ours to accept God’s word. The awesome thing is no matter what, God will still love us. However, will we still love Him and believe that He is the God that can do the impossible (at least in our minds) to restore, renew, and even create what was never there before? Yes, He can I am a witness and I will tell it everywhere I go. God ordained and designed marriage and it can only come from Him. Love your husband or wife for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health, until death do you part. If you love God then you can love the one you married. Remember, love is a commandment and so is forgiveness. You can do it! Yes! You can! Godspeed!

    • Sarah

      Hi, I have been reading all of these because I do still think I married the wrong person. I clearly heard God and everyone else in my family telling me no before I married him. I knew that he was a non believer but I didn’t think it would make that big of a difference and that he would change. I was young and foolish.
      We have 2 children and I am misreable. We can’t go to church, pray together, and we do not have the same morals. His idea of a marriage is no where close to mine. Do I stay married or leave and seek what I think is God’s plan? Or has this become his plan? I’m so confused.

    • Brad

      I struggle with this. I married a woman who turned out to be violent and abusive and highly unstable. At the same time she is articulate snd manipulative and controlling. It was a terrible relationship and one that caused me so much damage. We have two beautiful children whom I love very much and I recently called it time, deciding in my mind that her behaviour wasn’t moral, loving or of God.
      It caused no end of issue. From pastors to friends there was a high level of disbelief and the usual lines about God hating divorce, etc. Nothing I don’t specifically disagree with.
      Yet, the trouble is, that the marriage was filled with volatility. Police turning up every time she lost it. Children witnessing it. Myself walking on eggshells daily to avoid her fury, explosive temperament and they hideously destructive things she would say.
      I certainly tried. Carved out 6 years. But it resulted in nothing meaningful. The slightest improvement was undone by the next abusive outburst. My part was reduced to focussing on the kids and keeping my own sanity, keeping quiet and hoping for something to change. And it just didn’t.
      She never could accept responsibility. Refused to take blame for her actions. Always had an excuse, a reason, a place to pin the behaviour so that she didn’t have to own it. She’d blame me for not loving her more. For not being God’s channel of love to her. For not being Godly enough. Nothing I did was right – but then that’s the point – I was the channel for her abusive behaviour.
      I don’t know what as a Christian is the right value to hold when making a decision to leave a marriage like this, and I don’t know that I can find any scripture to suggest God’s plan for marriage looks like mine. My marriage was a war zone. Sure plenty of people have worse experiences in life. I’m not claimg otherwise.
      But what is right? Staying in it?
      I decided in the end that Moeba – the morality of God was paramount. And I decided that if it’s good enough for mainstream non-Christian society to know what isn’t right – (and violence and abuse is certainly not right) – then it was good enough for me. Besides I reckon if I was a girl rather than a guy, I’d have been rescued from that marriage by God fearing churchies a long time earlier.
      So this is my question – when I get a hard time now, question myself, and start hunting for answers, and come across a site like this….. am I wrong for my choice? I’d just like to know.

    • ShebaBarb

      Good post and I agree with the writer. I think if we were or are knowable about the will of the Father we will be more careful about who it is we marry because knowledge is power. Even so when you marry out of ignorance or without knowing I believe God can work it out if the both of you desire to make it work and don’t consider divorce as an option. I speak of a man and a woman, not 2 women and/or 2 men.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.