A notice has come out that those who have been given permission to leave Babylon and make their way back to Jerusalem, some of them have intermarried with those who worship other gods. This mortifies Ezra to the point where he tears his robes and fasts until the evening service. At this service he approaches the altar of the Lord and asks for forgiveness.
So, what is our current thinking in regards to marrying outside of the faith? And what do we think in regards to marrying outside of our denominations, or our own Protestant faith communities? Is there a litmus test that we should use for our sons and our daughters to see if they are marrying within the faith or not?
Not too long ago I called around looking for a rabbi to do a “mixed marriage” with me. I didn’t get any positive response. I got some flack from some people close to me because they felt that it was not right to perform a marriage as a Christian pastor with someone who did not believe in the same god that we worship. In the past I have written about the understanding that yes, there is only one God, but that does not mean that we all worship the same god. This would be a case where those close to me felt, and I agree, that this marriage is not glorifying to God because we are commanded in passages such as this one in Ezra, not to marry outside of the faith. The argument goes that I am facilitating that by being a part of the service.
I do understand that argument but I also know that Paul speaks about not being unevenly yoked while at the same time speaks about those couples where one is a believer and one is not, that the believer should stay in that relationship. I will always counsel against being unequally yoked for if we cannot share the most important thing in our life, our faith in God, then much is missing.