HOUSMAIL HM#131 -
“Be ye not unequally yoked together
with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with
unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what
concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth
with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?
for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell
in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be
my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate,
saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean hing; and I will receive you,
And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters,
saith the Lord Almighty”. (2 Cor 6:14-18)
A couple of months ago I wrote a Booklet entitled “EQUALLY YOKED” which
was directed specifically to the needs of young Christians seeking
God’s help to choose a marriage partner. In order not to distract
attention from that main topic, I deliberately chose to ignore other
areas where it is also possible for believers to become “unequally
yoked” with unbelievers.
In this short article we will concentrate on a different aspect,
ignoring the Marriage question. If you want to read about that, you can
get a copy of the Booklet “EQUALLY YOKED” from my Web Site at:
One significant area where Christians can become unequally yoked is
that of Business Partnership.
Christians who take the verses quoted above seriously, should NEVER
enter into business partnerships with Unbelievers.
The logic is quite simple. Believers and Unbelievers have different
life goals and values.
The Believer lives to serve God as his first and absolute priority. His
business decisions will always be made with that in mind. He will
ALWAYS be willing to “go the second mile”, above and beyond his legal
contractual obligations. He will be prepared to suffer loss, rather
than disobey God...
The Unbeliever is not subject to those constraints. He does not have
the same commitment to obey God at any cost. Even if he is a “good
man”, he is still an UNREPENTANT SINNER! He lives to serve himself. It
is virtually inevitable that conflict will arise when hard decisions
have to be made about ethical questions.
When that happens the Christian will find himself under pressure to
resolve the conflict by compromising his principles. If he has “equal
voting rights” and stands firm, it may even become necessary to
dissolve the partnership, in order to remain obedient to God and avoid
responsibility for any sin involved. If he is a MINOR partner, he can
be outvoted in areas where, to remain obedient, his only final recourse
will be to leave the partnership in disadvantaged conditions. That can
often result in the need to close the business altogether, with
considerable financial loss. And of course there can also be serious
consequences for employees for whose welfare the Christian employer is
All of that can be avoided by obedience to God’s commandment about
One area not always recognised as BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP is that of
SHAREHOLDING in companies.
Christian Shareholders are in fact in partnership with all the other
shareholders in the company. Their money is being used to finance the
company’s activities. They are responsible to God for what is the
company does with their money. And they are VERY unequally yoked with
those other partners in their voting power.
All too often companies engage in activities which a Christian should
not condone. Large companies are often owners or shareholders of other
smaller companies where the majority of shareholders are not even aware
of the nature of the business. E.g. many large companies own shares in
arms manufacture, or tobacco, or gambling, etc. Some companies often
legally “cut corners” in Tax issues where the Christian would choose
differently. And employees can often commit the company to “legal”
activities which Christians could never condone. Because of his
investment, the Christian becomes an unwitting PARTNER in these
The only safe way to guarantee staying “squeaky clean” is NOT to hold
shares at all!!
There are many different sorts of “clubs” and “organizations in this
world, which been formed to provide services and promote the common
interests of members. Some of them were formed for very worthy causes
and do many “charitable works” for the community at large. Others
provide useful services which make our world a better place to live in.
And some help people use their leisure time in organized ways. They
include Business Associations, (such as city “gentlemen’s” clubs, trade
associations, Unions, etc.) Sporting Clubs (such as horse racing,
football, cricket, netball, athletics, etc.) Charitable and Community
Organizations, (such as Apex, Rotary, Lions, etc.)
This article does not set out to question their motives or usefulness.
Nor are we about to make a “black list” of organizations which might be
“unsuitable”. But we do flag the possibility that membership of some of
them might involve Believers in a form of UNEQUAL YOKING which is
incompatible with true Christianity.
For Believers, the question is NOT whether the purpose of the club is
“good”. The real issue is whether or not there can come a time when
there will be a conflict between Christian values and the will of the
majority decided by “democratic majority vote”.
It is essential that believers read an organisation’s constitution
carefully before committing themselves to membership. And it is also
essential that they be prepared to resign their membership if
situations arise in which the actions of the organisation are in
obvious conflict with the values taught by Jesus.
To remain a member in such situations, is to become responsible for the
actions undertaken by the democratic majority!
Clearly the principles outlined above mean that it is possible for true
believers to be VERY unequally yoked in their membership of some
Many Churches today are little more than “social clubs in which members
have little interest in Bible study, and are even less interested in
creeds and constitutions. Many church members have never even read the
STATEMENT OF FAITH which defines what thir Church stands for, or the
CONSTITUTION by which it is regulated. Especially in the Mainstream
Churches, these often include things which are in direct conflict with
true Bible teaching. Some Churches require a public confession of
acceptance of these before admitting people to membership. Some are
even more strict, requiring a formal signature on a document which
affirms their acceptance of the conditions.
Just a few examples of problems commonly encountered are:
1. Teaching which says that the Trinity
is essential for salvation and that those who do not believe it are
2. Teaching that says Believer’s Baptism is not necessary for salvation.
3. Teaching that says believers should fight for their country in time
4. Teaching that condones divorce and remarriage in situations which
Jesus clearly labels as adultery.
5. Teaching that promotes the swearing of oaths contrary to what Jesus
says in the Sermon on the Mount.
6. Teaching that says men and women are born with an inherited “sin
nature” which prevents them from
obeying God’s laws.
In the absence of any clear statement to the contrary, Churches are
entitled to assume that those who seek their company, agree with their
CREEDS and CONSTITUTIONS. They extend fellowship on the basis of that
assumption, and most would NOT offer the same "privileges" if they did
know about the differences. To deliberately allow them to remain in
ignorance, in order to be "accepted" by them, or be awarded a
"ministry" amongst them, or to receive the benefits of things they
offer, is a serious form of deception, which also denies Jesus before
men. (Matt 10:32-33; Rev 21:8; 22:15)
Note carefully that we are NOT talking here about differences of
opinion about issues which clearly do not affect salvation. But for
those issues which the Bible does clearly define as essential for
salvation we should be asking ourselves some hard questions before
Can there be a REAL “equally yoking” between true believers and a
Church which promotes fundamental errors about the meaning of the
Gospel, conditions for salvation, and the nature of the works inspired
by true FAITH in Jesus? How is it possible to show true sacrificial
love for them and work amongst them whilst ignoring things which might
affect their salvation?
Our Watchman’s duty requires us to sound the warning trumpet! (Ezekiel
33:1-9) Failure to do so might cost us our own salvation!
THE BOTTOM LINE
We should note carefully that God makes His offer to be our Father
CONDITIONAL on getting all of this right! (2 Cor 6:14-18)
makes it a very serious issue! We ignore it at our peril.