By Wayne S. Walker
Permit me to tell you the true story of a lady of my acquaintance who is, or was, a member of the Lord’s body. I know she was a member of the church because I baptized her into Christ the very first Sunday I preached for a congregation with which I formerly worked. Both of her parents and her brother had obeyed the gospel before her, continue to be faithful Christians, and are still good friends of mine. When she responded to the invitation, she had already married a man who was not a child of God and had a couple of children, but this did not seem to interfere with her being regular in her attendance.
After I left the church, she decided to identify with another congregation closer to her home for convenience sake. She even asked that I write a letter to the brethren informing them that she had been baptized and was a member in good standing for the congregation where she had been worshiping. Health problems of her own and those of her children made attendance difficult on occasion. But the last time I talked with her she seemed to be very happy where she was. And the brethren there spoke well of her.
However, I recently had opportunity to speak one night for that congregation in a lecture-type meeting. When I asked the local evangelist how my friend was doing, I was quite shocked when he responded that she was now going to a Catholic church! Several brethren had been to visit her. When the preacher talked to her, he pointed out that she had not been raised to believe that way. Her reply was, “That is what I believe now.” Members of her own family have even pleaded with her but apparently it has all been to no avail. At this writing, the church is contemplating disciplinary action against her.
Why would a seemingly faithful Christian with years of background “in the church” do such a thing? I do not know enough about all the details of the situation to answer that question with any degree of assurance. But I do know that her mother-in-law was a strong Catholic and her husband was raised as a Catholic. Sometimes the pressure just becomes so strong that it seems easier to give up than to continue fighting. That may have happened in this case and her faith was not strong enough to resist. Someday she may, like the prodigal son, come to herself, repent of her error, and be restored to the Lord. But by that time, her now small children may grow up, marry Catholics themselves, remain in error for the rest of their lives, and be lost eternally. Such will be a source of great grief to her.
May I take this as an opportunity to encourage every young person who is a Christian to marry a child of God. Experience testifies to the wisdom of this course of action. Either marry someone who is already a faithful member of the Lord’s church or else make sure that your prospective mate obeys the gospel before you agree to wed. Not long ago a man wrote to Ann Landers saying that he had married a smoker whom he thought he could persuade to quit. After nineteen years of marriage, she smokes more than ever. Ann replied, “If something bothers you during courtship, it will become unbearable after marriage. ” What you cannot do before the wedding you are unlikely to accomplish afterwards.
The same is true in religion. “If you marry a child of the devil, you are bound to have trouble with your father-in-law. ” Or, as the example cited shows, you may end up losing your own faith as a result. You may retort, “Oh, that will never happen to me.” It has happened to others who undoubtedly said the same thing. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). Please, do not take a chance with the souls of your possible children, your spouse, and yourself. Make sure that your home is united in Christ. This is the best way to avoid innumerable problems and the only way to have the hope of being together in eternity.
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 22, p. 687
November 21, 1985