14Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? 16And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.
2 Corinthians 6:14-16 NLT
It’s about worldview.
In this passage, Paul cautions all believers to be discerning about who we team up with (or, as the King James would say, who we are “yoked” to). More than a simple statement about Christians working with other Christians, Paul seems to have an eye towards worldview.
A worldview is a set of beliefs and assumptions that determine how we should live. Whether we know it or not, we all have a worldview that guides our… well, view of the world. Worldview impacts everything—economics, politics, and faith, just to name a couple of examples.
In a pluralistic society such as ours, we place a high value on tolerance for differences in beliefs and worldviews. On one hand, as believers, we need to be advocates for freedom of expression. We want to ensure that all people are free to hold and express ideas while we work to share the gospel. However, on the other hand, we cannot accept that all worldviews are good and compatible. Notice how Paul frames these categories—he speaks in binary terms—believers or unbelievers, righteousness or wickedness, light or dark, Christ or the devil, the temple or idols. When it comes to worldviews, we have two options: a Christian worldview or an anti-Christian worldview. Though we need to be gracious to those who do not share our beliefs, we cannot compromise ours. Hence, Paul’s teaching: We must carefully evaluate those with whom we choose to team up with. Let’s consider a couple of practical ways to apply this teaching in the context of dating and marriage relationships.
When I do pre-marital counseling, I have one goal—to help a young couple discern whether or not their worldviews are compatible. As we talk through questions, I always try to confront each individual with their own worldview. For example, I generally begin by asking questions about the couple’s faith background. Often, both partners express that they have faith but upon further examination, it is often the case that one individual may take their commitment to Christ very seriously, while the other may think that Christianity simply means attending church occasionally.
This is why I strongly encourage parents to be very engaged with their kids as they navigate pre-marital relationships (read, delay and discern). They are not just dating another person—they are dating a worldview.
These issues are not limited to pre-marital relationships. The same problems are common in marriages. Whether we were aware of it at the time or not, when we said “I do,” we married a set of beliefs and assumptions—a worldview, in other words. At some point, our worldviews will come into conflict—be it over faith, money, parenting, or a myriad of other issues. When this occurs, a crucial step in resolving conflict in marriage is to try to understand the two conflicting worldviews that collided. The next time you and your spouse have serious (or re-occurring) argument, take some time to uncover the underlying beliefs and assumptions that may be in tension and begin to work through those differences. Remember that a difference in worldview never trumps grace, love, and your covenant to one another.