“To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 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. But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” ( Reference: 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 )
Hans Schmidt, a historic Hutterite wrote,
“The outward bond of marriage (Ezra 10:2, 10; Tob. 6:13-14) is not of God if it takes place in a human way and is not joined by the Holy Spirit (Gen. 6:1-4; Matt. 24:38; Luke 17:27). But if the partners turn from sin and truly give themselves to God (Acts 2:38; 16:31), their sins will be washed away. Then the Spirit (2 Thess. 2:13) will consecrate their marriage; it will be in accordance with God’s will, and what God has now joined together (Gen. 24; Tob. 7; Matt. 19:6) no man shall put asunder.
However, should one partner separate from the other, he must either remain unattached or repent and be reconciled (1 Cor. 7:10-11). Until he repents (1 Cor. 5:2-5; 2 Thess. 3:14-15), the other partner should have nothing to do with him except for calling him to repentance, unless there should be some other godly reason.”
It must have been baffling to piece together how life should be lived out according to scripture when there was so many scriptures that could be applied to the activities of daily living. The historic Anabaptists and other new faith communities that emerged during this time relied heavily on scripture and used it in much of their writings. It was a “new” thing, having one’s own bible, and being a “novelty” it was used quite often. Evidenced by all the scriptural citations in Schmidt’s writing. I looked up many of these citations, and it is a matter of certain understandings and perspectives being brought to bear on the situation under discussion. In other words, they used a bit of this and a bit of that to prove what they were saying. It is not generally how scriptural proofs are used now, beloved. And it jostles me that such biblical scholarship and usage was practiced by my denominational fore-bearers.
It also jostles me that the writer of 1 Corinthians clearly states it is his opinion and not the Lord’s that a believer should remain yoked to an unbeliever, and Paul’s opinion should become “Christian canon.” Chalk up another discussion Paul and I will need to have in the world to come!
In some ways this taking snippets of scriptural text and sprinkling them around like seasoning on all sorts of situations reminds me of the Jewish habit of doing just the same thing. Taking a situation in life and trying out scriptural passages to see what is the best fit, “trimming” the understanding and meaning of the text a little here and there to make it fit. That Paul and I both are influenced by our Jewish heritage will make that discussion all the more interesting.
The thing is, beloved, times and cultural situations change. And when you try to apply scriptural understandings from decades, eras, and centuries ago, they may not adequately take into account the changes in society and generations. May be you can tell I am skimming ever closer to stating my opinion. If I said much more, I may give too much away.
What I can tell you beloved is that the message of faith and what it can do in a person’s life can come from almost any imaginable Christian source, or even from a source outside of organized faith. Do not close the door on any possibility of faith being transmitted. But neither should you allow your faith to be trampled on or disregard. May your faith glorify the Lord and be a blessing to others. Selah!