LAKEVIEW MISSIONARY CHURCH
Weekly Update for March 1, 2023
A popular pastor of a large and growing church in Atlanta, Georgia was approached by a rock concert promoter. The concert promoter had heard the pastor was looking for a new location for his large and growing congregation.
The concert promoter had an idea he shared with the church pastor: “I’ll build a new concert location and you can build your new church on an adjacent property that I will donate to you. We can share the parking needs that we both have. If you allow our concert attendees to use your parking at nights you can use our concert stadium on Easter Sundays.”
But the conversation between the Christian pastor and non-Christian concert promoter stopped when someone reminded the pastor of a few brief verses from the apostle Paul that prohibits Christians from partnering in a close way with unbelievers. The apostle Paul writes about this in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18,
“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty. (NASB)
Paul makes it clear believers are not supposed to enter into close partnerships with unbelievers. The prohibition is a formal long-term contract based relationship. The phrase “bound together” in verse 14 comes from the word for yoking animals together as they plow a field. Paul is probably drawing on the Old Testament principle of Deuteronomy 22:10, “You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together.” An oxen and donkey each pull differently which makes plowing in a straight line almost impossible.
There are three areas that we as Christians should avoid partnering with unbelievers in: ministry, marriage, and business.
In ministry there is a focus that we need to have about separating from false teachers troubling the church. We as believers should partner with Christian churches that agree with us on the core doctrines of orthodox Christianity.
In marriage a Christian should not marry a non-Christian. Love is blinding. Some of us desire to love someone and be loved so much that we can accidently find ourselves dating someone that does not share the same commitment to God that we have. Before we know it we are attending church alone on Sundays, praying by ourselves, and wishing our spouse had the same fervor for God that we have. But what does it mean to not be “bound together” with an “unbeliever” (v. 14)? A believer is someone that wants to still attend church on a Sunday when you are sick and unable to attend. A believer is someone that has a Bible and knows how to locate Scripture within it when asked. A believer is someone willing to pray aloud in front of you.
In business we also need to caution ourselves to not enter into close partnerships with unbelievers. Does this mean we make sure the clerk at Winco is a Christian before we allow him to ring up our groceries? Does this mean we only let the Christian barista prepare our coffee? Does it mean the person preparing our hamburger has to be a devoted believer? Of course not, the partnership Paul restricts is a closely bound long-term mutual relationship that involves a contract. J Vernon McGee says “A child of God and a child of the Devil cannot be yoked together and pull together in their life goals.” If a Christian and an unbeliever partner in business then problems will arise because of the differing values that each person may have.
Ministry should have two churches each equally devoted to God and obeying His Word. Marriage should include two equally committed Christians. A business venture should include two partners that each share a faith in God. We can be tempted to enter into a ministry partnership, marriage, or business venture, but we need to be committed to following God’s Word even if it costs us dearly. That pastor of that growing church turned down the rock concert promoter’s offer to partner in building a new church and parking lot that they could share. It was hard for him to do that, but he knew he had to as a believer committed to following God’s Scripture. A short time later God provided a new location and new opportunity for him that worked better for his church than the original location the non-Christian concert promoter had suggested.
Christopher L. Scott
 Charles Swindoll, Insights on 1 & 2 Corinthians (Carol Stream, IL: 2017), 383.
 J Vernon McGee, 2 Corinthians (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 83.