Question from Nigeria about a Christian Married to an Unbeliever


Good afternoon my preacher. I Worshipped today at … and I was shocked at the lesson taught by the preacher on marriage. Text: 1Cor 7:39. The summary of the lesson was: (1) Any Christian and not just widows who marry an unbeliever would be disfellowshiped. (2) He no longer is a Christian. I asked two questions in writing (1) If a christian marries an unbeliever and he is disfellowshiped, what would be his fruit of repentance for him to be restored? (2) If the unbelieving wife of this brother wants to be a Christian and request baptism, would she be baptized? His answer: (1) He needs to do away with the wife before he is restored and (2) The unbelieving wife cannot be baptized. Brother for me this is serious because it seems to be a well established practice among them. Any material on this will help. Thanks.


Thank you for your good question. Yes, I agree this is a disturbing situation, and the position of the preacher in Port Harcourt directly contradicts the inspired advice of the apostle Paul in First Corinthians chapter seven.

“But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: 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” (1 Corinthians 7:12-13).

The apostle is not denying his advice is from the Lord. It’s just not advice the Lord gave while He was upon earth. Paul concludes his advice about marriage by stating, “… And I think I also have the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 7:40). What Paul wrote was given by the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:12-13), and the Holy Spirit revealed to the apostles the will of the Lord (John 16:13-15). A Christian must not divorce his unbelieving mate.

Furthermore, the apostle Peter advises believing wives how to live with unbelieving husbands (1 Peter 3:1-2). Why didn’t he just tell them to divorce the unbelieving husbands?

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