- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Bible Questions and answers about the Church
- Published on Monday, 14 February 2011 10:02
How should an assembly of God act, according to the Scriptures, in the case of a member who has married a Roman Catholic?
To us it may seem worse that a professed Christian should marry a Roman Catholic, than that one should marry an unconverted Protestant; and generally it means much more in the way of trouble in the flesh to the one concerned. But we have to remember that, from the point of view of the Scriptures, and of the principle involved, the one act is as wrong as the other; and whatever may be said as to the assembly’s attitude in the case mentioned in the question, would be applicable in the other case also. Not only so, but since the evil in the act is that of being “unequally yoked together” (2 Corinthians 6: ) with an unbeliever, it would to a large extent be applicable to other cases of the unequal yoke as well.
A clear understanding as to all this would prevent an assembly from acting with undue harshness in the one instance, while perhaps entirely ignoring the others. Yet, that a member of an assembly of God’s people should at all wish to marry a Roman Catholic is very strange, and suggests some grave considerations. One may well wonder whether such a one has divine life; for if so, it is difficult to imagine what common interest there could ever be to bring the pair together in the first instance. At least there must have been much preliminary declension from God’s ways, ere such a thing could be possible. And that suggests another matter for thought, namely, what kind of guides were in an assembly where departure from God on the part of a member could reach to such a climax as this, without faithful warnings having been given at an earlier stage which might have prevented it.
But the most surprising feature of all would be if the one who had done this thing, afterwards desired, as the question seems to imply, to remain in the fellowship of the assembly. The Roman religious authorities exercise such pressure on their people in the matter of a mixed marriage, that it would almost certainly have taken place in one of their own places of worship, and only after the non-Roman party to it had climbed down very low in agreeing to all their demands. Therefore it is not easy to understand why anyone who has gone so far should wish to continue the former associations.
If, however, all this has occurred or should occur, the assembly should certainly not ignore what has taken place. I do not think that (unless other complications are present) the Scriptures would warrant putting away from the fellowship of the meeting on that account alone. But the guilty individual should be rebuked; and since it is an evil to which a large amount of publicity is necessarily attached, I suggest that the rebuke should in like manner be public, i.e. in the presence of the assembled saints (see 1 Timothy 5:20 and Galatians 2:14).