Question: I have an old born again friend who is married to a non practicing Jehovah’s Witness. Would you class them as unequally yoked? His wife is also threatening to leave him if he does not start to follow her to her meetings. He asked me for advice a few weeks ago but I am not sure what to tell him, what would you suggest?
Answer: If your friend is born again and is married to a Jehovah’s Witness, yes, this would be unequally yoked. I am a little confused, though, because you said she is a non practicing Jehovah’s Witness, and then you said she wants him to go to her meetings, which I assume you mean with her to the Jehovah’s Witness Hall.
The only thing I know to tell you is what the word of God says: “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?…” (2 Corinthians 6:14)
Now what a person does depends on the individual situation. For example, if the spouse of the Christian has children or wants to remain married this has to be taken into consideration. Here is a Scripture on this subject. “Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife. But to the rest I, not the Lord, say [Jesus did not command about the specific details, but left this up to St. Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.]:
“If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.” (1 Corinthians 7:10-14)
Now if the unbeliever wants to leave, this is also a different case, Scripture states, “But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife? (1 Corinthians 7:15-16)
The husband has to take a stand if the marriage is to work. He is to be the spiritual head of his home and not the wife. If the wife does not want to go to church that is her decision, but if she tries to force him to go to her church, which in this case is the Jehovah’s Witness organization; (if I understand the situation correctly) then he can’t do this. If after he has taken a stand, and then she wants to leave him, as we pointed out in Scripture, there is nothing he can do except let her leave.
I am answering the question given to me from the husband’s perspective, but the same applies to a wife’s perspective if she is faced with a similar situation. As Paul said, we don’t know if a person will be saved or not, only God knows that. If the person wants to remain on in the marriage in an unsaved condition, the Christian is to continue the marriage.
So often people get themselves into these things because they really don’t know the word of God and what it says, or they don’t believe it is relevant to their lives. Sometimes, also, people get married before they are saved and then one gets saved after the marriage. That is why Paul is addressing this issue. It is extremely important that we believe God’s word is the Law of God for our lives. No matter how people attack it and do not believe God’s word, it is still true!
The Bible has stood the test of time, and it will continue to do so. We need to believe it and put it into practice. “For what if some did not believe? WILL their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: That You may be justified in Your words, and may overcome when You are judged.” (Romans 3:3-4) God knows what is best for us in our lives. The Bible is our guide book, and it has principles for every situation we will face in this life, including marriage and divorce.
We have a more compete study on this whole subject of marriage and divorce on line. You will need to go to our 1 Corinthian’s commentary, Part 2, and look at chapter 7. I hope this helps your friend. First and foremost we need to pray for his wife that she receives the Lord and then the problem would be resolved.
Thanks for the question,
Gary T. Panell
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