Derek Rishmawy posted a good article today on The Gospel Coalition website that had to do with theological differences amongst married, engaged, soon to be engaged, and dating couples. It’s a timely article on a topic that rarely comes up. Personally, I don’t recall attending Christian seminars for singles in the past, which discussed theological differences between couples as something to expect or to work through as early as the dating process. This is unfortunate because I believe it’s important for men and women to know and understand his/her theology.
The church must be a place for all believers to assess where they stand in the light of our Lord and his word. Through individual and corporate study of his word, the church is to be an environment where the members come to grips with what one believes and how they believe it. This is vitally important in relationships, especially marriage, where the commitment is lifelong. It’s one thing to disagree over secondary matters such as eschatology; however, it’s something else entirely to disagree over the centrality of Christ as the only way to salvation. The key here is for men and women in the church to discern his or her core beliefs or deal breakers.
Here are two examples:
COUPLE A: He believes in baptizing infants, but she doesn’t (or vice versa). Are those two able to work through that divide? By the way, the baptism issue isn’t something that impacts Protestant and Catholic partners who desire marriage. There are Protestant denominations who baptize infants such as Lutherans and Presbyterians. In other words, being a Protestant doesn’t mean uniformity on water baptism.
COUPLE B: She believes that the spiritual gifts have ceased, but he believes in their continuation (or vice versa). Are these two able to worship in the same church? Suppose the man or the woman in this scenario operates in the gifts. Will there be feelings of spiritual superiority and/or inferiority?
The above examples are by no means exhaustive, but the point is clear. When men and women marry, there are already differences: they are two different people. Now, the question is in what ways are these two people different. I believe that the spiritual differences get the shaft, but they deserve the same amount of attention as the physical and psychological ones.