Was James White ‘Unequally Yoked’ in Memphis?

Some say yes, some say no, some say maybe. This post is for informational purposes. Your opinion is your own. If you MUST have my opinion, I am in the ‘maybe’ camp. The term ‘interfaith’ is briefly discussed because someone recently told me that EVERYTHING interfaith is ‘unequally yoked’. I think that’s silly.

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” 2 Cor 6:14

unequally yoked together G2086  (KJV + Strongs)

G2086   (Strong)

ἑτεροζυγέω

heterozugeō

het-er-od-zoog-eh’-o

From a compound of G2087 and G2218; to yokeup differently, that is, (figuratively) to associate discordantly: – unequally yoke together with.

Total KJV occurrences: 1

 

Albert Barnes

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers – This is closely connected in sense with the previous verse. The apostle is there stating the nature of the remuneration or recompence which he asks for all the love which he had shown to them. He here says, that one mode of remuneration would be to yield obedience to his commands, and to separate themselves from all improper alliance with unbelievers. “Make me this return for my love. Love me as a proof of your affection, be not improperly united with unbelievers. Listen to me as a father addressing his children, and secure your own happiness and piety by not being unequally yoked with those who are not Christians.” The word which is used here (ἑτεροζυγέω heterozugeō) means properly, to bear a different yoke, to be yoked heterogeneously – Robinson (Lexicon). It is applied to the custom of yoking animals of different kinds together (Passow); and as used here means not to mingle together, or be united with unbelievers.

 

It is implied in the use of the word that there is a dissimilarity between believers and unbelievers so great that it is as improper for them to mingle together as it is to yoke animals of different kinds and species. The ground of the injunction is, that there is a difference between Christians and those who are not, so great as to render such unions improper and injurious. The direction here refers doubtless to all kinds of improper connections with those who were unbelievers. It has been usually supposed by commentators to refer particularly to marriage. But there is no reason for confining it to marriage. It doubtless includes that, but it may as well refer to any other intimate connection, or to intimate friendships, or to participation in their amusements and employments, as to marriage. The radical idea is, that they were to abstain from all connections with unbelievers – with infidels, and pagans, and those who were not Christians, which would identify them with them; or they were to have no connection with them in anything as unbelievers, pagans, or infidels; they were to partake with them in nothing that was special to them as such.

 

They were to have no part with them in their paganism unbelief, and idolatry, and infidelity; they were not to be united with them in any way or sense where it would necessarily be understood that they were partakers with them in those things. This is evidently the principle here laid down, and this principle is as applicable now as it was then.

 

Jamiesson-Fausset-Brown

Be notGreek,Become not.”

unequally yoked — “yoked with one alien in spirit.” The image is from the symbolical precept of the law (Lev 19:19), “Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind”; or the precept (Deu 22:10), “Thou shalt not plough with an ox and an ass together.” Compare Deu 7:3, forbidding marriages with the heathen; also 1Co 7:39. The believer and unbeliever are utterly heterogeneous.Too close intercourse with unbelievers in other relations also is included (2Co 6:16; 1Co 8:10; 1Co 10:14).

fellowship — literally, “share,” or “participation.”

righteousness — the state of the believer, justified by faith.

unrighteousness — rather, as always translated elsewhere, “iniquity”; the state of the unbeliever, the fruit of unbelief.

light — of which believers are the children (1Th 5:5).

 

Adam Clarke

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers – This is a military term: keep in your own ranks; do not leave the Christian community to join in that of the heathens. The verb ἑτεροζυγειν signifies to leave one’s own rank, place, or order, and go into another; and here it must signify not only that they should not associate with the Gentiles in their idolatrous feasts, but that they should not apostatize from Christianity; and the questions which follow show that there was a sort of fellowship that some of the Christians had formed with the heathens which was both wicked and absurd, and if not speedily checked would infallibly lead to final apostasy.

Some apply this exhortation to pious persons marrying with those who are not decidedly religious, and converted to God. That the exhortation may be thus applied I grant; but it is certainly not the meaning of the apostle in this place. Nevertheless, common sense and true piety show the absurdity of two such persons pretending to walk together in a way in which they are not agreed. A very wise and very holy man has given his judgment on this point: “A man who is truly pious, marrying with an unconverted woman, will either draw back to perdition, or have a cross during life.” The same may be said of a pious woman marrying an unconverted man. Such persons cannot say this petition of the Lord’s prayer, Lead us not into temptation. They plunge into it of their own accord.

 

John Gill

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers,…. This seems to be an allusion to the law in Deu 22:10 and to be a mystical explanation of it; and is to be understood not as forbidding civil society and converse with unbelievers; for this is impracticable, then must believers needs go out of the world; this the many natural and civil relations subsisting among men make absolutely necessary; and in many cases is both lawful and laudable, especially when there is any opportunity or likelihood of doing them any service in a spiritual way: not is it to be understood as dehorting from entering into marriage contracts with such persons; for such marriages the apostle, in his former epistle, had allowed to be lawful, and what ought to be abode by; though believers would do well carefully to avoid such an unequal yoke, since oftentimes they are hereby exposed to many snares, temptations, distresses, and sorrows, which generally more or less follow hereon: but there is nothing in the text or context that lead to such an interpretation; rather, if any particular thing is referred to, it is to joining with unbelievers in acts of idolatry; since one of the apostle’s arguments to dissuade from being unequally yoked with unbelievers is, “what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?” and from the foregoing epistle it looks as if some in this church had joined with them in such practices; see 1Co 10:14. But I rather think that these words are a dissuasive in general, from having any fellowship with unbelievers in anything sinful and criminal, whether in worship or in conversation:

 

“Interfaith”

adjective: of, operating, or occurring between persons belonging to different religions

This could mean a wide variety of things from having an actual worship ‘service’, picketing an abortion clinic together, having a conversation, eating a meal, UFC, playing chess, name an activity. If you are going to tell me that James White was ‘unequally yoked’, you had better tell me exactly WHY you make the conclusion. 

James White had a discussion about religion with a Muslim in which each man presented various tenets of their respective faiths. Whether he was unequally ‘yoked’ is a matter of speculation and individual opinion.

You can come to a hard and fast conclusion, or, you could choose wisdom and say you ‘think’ He might have been ‘unequally yoked’. 

 

2 responses to “Was James White ‘Unequally Yoked’ in Memphis?

    • I just wanted to put it out there to encourage critical thinking. BTW, had a lunch time get together with a few other brothers and we discussed ‘unequal yoking’. It was a good discussion.

      Like

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