What marriages are forbidden in Adventism?

Questions & Answers May 22, 2016

Q: I want to get clarification on forbidden marriages within the Adventist faith. For example, we’re told that we shouldn’t marry “unbelievers.” Who are “unbelievers?” Are Christians from other faiths who don’t believe in the Sabbath considered to be unbelievers? — Felix, from Kenya

A: When Paul writes “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers” in 2 Corinthians 6:14, he is speaking with a heart full of love, as if he is writing to his own children (see vs. 13). We are given this inspired counsel because God knows that a marriage is much stronger — and happier — when both the man and the woman share the same Biblical values and beliefs, especially regarding the Sabbath. Amos 3:3 says, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?”

Unfortunately, when Seventh-day Adventist believers marry someone not of our faith, hoping against hope that after marriage their wife or husband will eventually see the light of Bible truth, they are almost always disappointed. Usually such a mismatched marriage produces religious conflict in the home. Then the thought arises that perhaps it will be better when children are born, but oftentimes the conflicts become worse. Some parents begin to think that the best solution is just “to let the children decide for themselves.”

It’s far better to lay a solid foundation for marriage by seeking God’s will in the choice of a life partner — one who believes the same as they do. This is the safest path.

Ellen White very clearly defines who a believer is: “Men and women professing godliness should tremble at the thought of entering into a marriage covenant with those who do not respect and obey the commandments of God. It was this that opened the flood-gates of sin to the antediluvians. Such a connection with the world is a direct departure from God’s express requirements, — ‘Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.’” (Signs of the Times, December 30, 1880).

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