Divided Faith in Marriage

The Question

My husband is a devout DENOMINATION NAME attendee and believes this is the only church! He says I am out of line according to what the Bible teaches because I am not attending church with him. Can you give me any scriptures to support (a) the DENOMINATION NAME being the only Church and (b) my being out of line because I am not attending the DENOMINATION NAME with my husband?

- BB from South Carolina


The Answer
Part 1: The True Church
Part 2: House Divided

The True Church (Part 1)

How about if I say that you are both wrong but also that you each have a point? First let’s talk about the true church/denomination issue which is your husband’s issue.

Many churches and denominations proclaim that THEY alone are the true church of Jesus Christ. Over the centuries many movements have risen up (sometimes trying to correct imbalances or heresy in previous church movements) and they feel that they have finally gotten it right. How easy it is then eventually to believe that all others are wrong and that they have a corner on truth.

The true church of Jesus Christ is actually spiritual in nature. That’s hard for us human beings who live in a material world and want something concrete that we can see and touch. Jesus is the head and we are the living parts of his body through faith. When we believe in Jesus and surrender to his Lordship we become members of his true church.

“(You) are of God’s household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” (Ephesians 2:20-21)

I do not know which scriptures your husband points to in proving his denomination is the only church but I’m sure there are some. In so doing he would be in good company with many other denominations that also point to scriptures (sometimes the same ones) that prove they are the only church. Well, they can’t all be right can they?


House Divided (Part 2)

As far as you being out of line in not attending church with him, it is he who has a point. I do not see any scripture passages that specify a wife must attend church with her husband. However, the Bible teaches that the husband and wife become “one flesh” (see Genesis 2:24) so being together spiritually is definitely the desired goal.

To the extent that it is possible, husband and wife should operate as one. The strength of their marriage is increased when they walk the same path together, be it in raising children or attending church together, or moving forward in life with united purposes.

That is not always possible for a variety of reasons. The difficulties of divided hearts in marriage is probably why Paul advised: “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light and darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)

So my question to you is WHY don’t you attend church with your husband? There may be valid reasons but you don’t state them so we must let that lie. In the end, God knows the motivation of your heart and it is he who judges your choice.

Hopefully you are attending a good Bible believing church where you can grow spiritually. Perhaps you want your husband to attend with you and he is sitting there wishing the same thing from you. Maybe you have different needs and different styles and neither of you are willing to compromise on this decision.

If that is the case, I would suggest beginning an honest dialog accompanied by praying together. Make it a definite time and place every single week. Come to understand each other’s spiritual perspective without arguing or judging.

Ask God to bring you together wherever he wants to leads. Be willing to lay down your own agendas for his. Maybe in the end he will direct you to a church that works for both of you. That might involve giving up stubbornness by each of you and it might require leaving your own comfort zones.

Remember to keep “one flesh” in the top of your mind as you proceed. And don’t forget that the greatest law for a Christian is LOVE.

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