SPIRITUAL vs. SECULAR? TRYING TO MIX OIL & WATER
By Marsha West
June 9, 2006
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14
A Christian friend of mine is dating a man she met at a singles club. When I asked her if he’s a believer she admitted that she hadn’t asked him. But she plans to. Right now she just wants to spend time with him and see what develops. And if the two of you fall in love, I asked? What then? Evidently she will cross that bridge when she comes to it.
My friend’s not alone. Today many Christians are in relationships with unbelievers, in spite of the fact that the Bible clearly teaches that righteousness and wickedness have nothing in common. The Apostle Paul used the expression “unequally yoked.” What he meant was oil and water don’t mix. Christians should not be involved in any relationship, whether it’s personal or business, which could cause them to compromise their faith. Couples that don’t share the same worldview find it much harder to overcome their differences.
What exactly is a worldview? David Tackett explains it this way, “Whether conscious or subconscious, every person has some type of worldview. A personal worldview is a combination of all you believe to be true, and what you believe becomes the driving force behind every emotion, decision and action. Therefore, it affects your response to every area of life: from philosophy to science, theology and anthropology to economics, law, politics, art and social order --- everything.”
Case in point: A member of my family, a Christian, married an unbeliever. At the time she had high hopes that God would answer her prayers and that her husband would be saved. This happened over twenty years ago and he’s still not saved.
The couple had two children together, Jack and Jill (not their real names). Mom took them to church while dad stayed home nestled in his comfy recliner watching sports events on TV. Eventually the couple divorced. Jack and Jill are now teenagers. About a year ago Mom got the surprise of her life when she received Jack’s report card and discovered that his grades had gone from A’s and B’s to D’s and F’s. To make matters worse his attitude dramatically changed. Suddenly the once compliant boy was a belligerent, disobedient and disrespectful teenager. The child who had attended Sunday school regularly refuses to go to church. Jack loves Mom, but to him she’s a control freak (she expects Jack and Jill to obey her rules) and a religious kook (she brings God into the conversation). Mom had anticipated teenage angst but she never dreamed her son would turn away from God and become so hateful toward her.
At her wits end, Mom asked her ex to join forces with her and he agreed. Their alliance turned out to be a mistake. Why? Because they hold opposing worldviews! During discussions on how they should handle the crisis, they ended up butting heads. Both of them love their kids, but they rarely agree on what’s best for them. It’s just as it was when they were married! Spiritual vs. Secular? Trying to mix oil and water.
Case #2. Another Christian I know is living with her boyfriend. Even though he’s not a believer she’s seriously considering marrying him. He’s promised to go to church with her -- “Someday, probably.” The couple has been together for over a year and he has yet to darken the doorway of the sanctuary. I asked if she’s told him that she wants her children to grow up in the Church. Yes, they’ve discussed children and religion. He assured her that he doesn’t have a problem with his kids going to church -- if they want to. So I asked what she would do if he changes his mind after they’re married. I could tell my question made her uncomfortable. She replied sharply, “He won’t.” I pointed out that most unbelievers don’t care if their kids go to church. A worried expression crossed her face. “I’ll take them anyway.” Translation: She wants to marry this guy so badly that she’s willing to compromise her faith. And who will suffer? The children, of course. Inevitably they’ll be caught in the middle of a parental tug of war. Spiritual vs. Secular? Trying to mix oil and water.
One doesn’t need a crystal ball to see into this couple’s future. What are the odds that an unbelieving spouse would want his or her children to become Christians if he or she opposes Christianity? If a couple embraces the Marxist philosophy, wouldn’t they become incensed if their children became Capitalists? You bet they would. And a lot of Capitalists would become incensed if one of their kids became a Marxist.
When Paul asked, “For what do wickedness and righteousness have in common?” his point was that they have nothing in common. This is a hard principle for Christians to accept. And many don’t. As I stated earlier, one of my family members married an unbeliever hoping that his worldview would change. But it hasn’t. Her marriage to an unbeliever put up a barrier between her and God. God calls such barriers “idols of the heart” (Ezekiel 14). Our Creator desires a close relationship with His human creation. But He will not compete with our earthly idols.
Because of his mother’s sin (going against God and marrying an unbeliever) Jack is in crisis. He knows full well what Mom believes about heaven and hell. Those who repent of their sins and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will spend eternity in heaven; everyone else will spend eternity in hell. This presents a real dilemma for Jack. If Mom is right, Dad is destined for the fiery pit when he dies -- because he also knows that Dad thinks the Gospel message is pure rubbish.
Although Dad believes in God, he rejects the notion that he’s a sinner in need of a Savior. He considers himself a good citizen and a good person. He believes that Jesus lived on the earth 2,000 years ago, but He was flesh, bone and blood just like everybody else. Jesus was not the Son of God nor was He the Savior of the world. Sooner or later everyone ends up in heaven, even if they’re not Christians.
If Dad is right then poor Mom is a fool. On top of that she’s been making all sorts of sacrifices for Christ -- for nothing! The trouble is, she expects her kids to make those same sacrifices. On the other hand, if Mom is right then Dad is the fool. But what’s even worse is if his father doesn’t accept Christ there will be hell to pay.
Do you see the problem? Jack has suddenly come to realize that both of his parents can’t be right. One of them is dead wrong! And he realizes that sooner or later he will have to choose sides. Perhaps he already has.
© 2006 Marsha West - All Rights Reserved
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Marsha West is the Founder and Editor of the E-Mail Brigade News Report, an online news report for conservative people of faith. Marsha is a freelance writer specializing in Christian worldview. She is a regular contributor to NewsWithViews.com, Alainsnewsletter.com, CapitolHillCoffeeHouse.com, plus her commentaries appear in MichNews.com and bibleteacher.org.
is also designer and webmaster of a Christian apologetics website, On
Solid Rock Resources. She is currently writing a series of children's
books for homeschoolers. Marsha and her husband reside in historic Jacksonville
Another Christian I know is living with her boyfriend. Even though he’s not a believer she’s seriously considering marrying him. He’s promised to go to church with her -- “Someday, probably.” The couple has been together for over a year and he has yet to darken the doorway of the sanctuary.