Archive for September 3, 2009

Paul Coughlin’s latest posting at Crosswalk is just too good to keep to myself.


Unequally yoked?

Posted: September 3, 2009 in Commentary, For brothers, For sisters

I have observed in my wanderings in real life and in the ‘blogosphere more than a few cases in which the idea of being ‘unequally yoked’ is being applied to contexts in which this notion does not apply.

The passage in scripture where this phrase comes from is Second Corinthians 6:14, and tellingly, is not about “marriage” per se; but is in fact about being “unequally yoked.” Various commentators have parsed this out to mean everything from “don’t even enter into a business agreement with a non believer” to “don’t get entangled in something that will cause you to compromise your faith.” A former pastor of mine from long ago believes that one should not even go into the house of someone who does not tithe. I’m glad he’s my former pastor.

As this applies to dating and relationships, we are bedeviled by the elasticity of meaning found here. I know a man whose girlfriend thought they should discontinue the relationship because he was more “spiritually mature” or some such; and I have known ladies whose behavior and speech suggest that they have a prima facie assumption that any man they are with is by definition someone who has been waiting all their life for her attempts to pastor him.

My bullet point: It is a misapplication of scripture for men or women to avoid social interaction with a believer of the opposite gender because of the assumption or reality of differing levels of spiritual maturity, or doctrinal differences. I have not said, and I do not say, that those things can not be important. I have not said you are obliged to spend time with someone, or any such thing; let alone meet with them. I certainly do not say that you have some kind of courtship track happening because you have met someone over a meal.

.. I am saying that you do damage to your understanding of the scripture if you “hide” behind this idea of being “unequally yoked” if what you really mean to say is something else (it is convicting to be around you… I’m just not into you….I’ve put you in the ‘friends’ box in my head…) Words have meaning. And these particular words should be used only when the idea you wish to convey is what the words mean.