When we talk to others about our cross-faith relationship, the 'do not be yoked with unbelievers' verse (2 Corinthians 6:14) is often raised in conversation. Cori and I are friends with another cross-faith couple in Pretoria, and while we were talking to them about this verse, they raised an interesting point:
What did the early Christians do about marriage?
Think about it. When the church first sparked into life, there would have been very few converts to begin with. If you were a recently converted woman in the early church, it would have been quite difficult for you to find a Christian husband, simply because there were few Christians to begin with. Did this mean you could not marry at all?
But what if you were already married, and you converted to this new religion but your partner did not? In the first few years of the church, most converts would have been adults, most of whom would have already been married to non-Christians.
I wonder if this is the reason for 1 Corinthians 7:13-14, a verse that Juno posted up on one of my earlier blog posts regarding this topic. It reads:
And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
Could it be that inter-faith relationships were the norm in the early church, and only later did it become the exception?