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#327 In Love with a Non-Christian

July 22, 2013

Dear Dr. Craig,

I have been a Christian my entire life, and your YouTube videos have been very helpful with my faith. But I have a problem. I have fallen in love with a non believer. I read on your site that if I were to marry her, it would be a sin. Ever since then I've been worried sick about going to hell because I love her. But we've talked about it and she says that she would convert to any religion to be with me. That is the main issue here. Even if she does convert, I feel like she's only doing it for me, even though she says she wants to do this. So my question is this: if she does convert, how could I be sure that she really believes in Christianity? And how (if possible) could I help her to know God as I do?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated Dr. Craig


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Dr. craig’s response


When I first read your question, Shane, I thought, “He’s got nothing to worry about! She’s ready to become a Christian, and the sincerity of her commitment is between her and God.” But the more I thought about it, the more I came to think that you do, indeed, face a rather difficult situation.

Forget about going to hell. What you should worry about, rather, is ruining your life by marrying someone who is a nonbeliever and therefore not God's will for your life. You don’t want to wander off the trajectory that God has in mind for you and so miss all that He has in store for you.

But, someone will say, she’s ready to embrace Christ as her Lord and Savior! None of us can be sure that the person we marry will persevere in the faith, so we trust the Lord as we pray for our spouse and try to be the husband or wife God calls us to be. So what’s the problem?

Well, the problem is that in this case her motives for becoming a Christian seem not to be that she has fallen in love with Christ but that she has fallen in love with you! A person who says that “she would convert to any religion” to be with you reveals that she has not understood that Christianity makes objective truth claims about reality. She seems to think of embracing a religion as akin to following fashion: you can change fashions without concern for truth. Such a woman has not yet arrived at the point that she can be trusted. For she seems willing to say or do whatever it takes to get the object of her desire.

The fear is that as time goes on and the inevitable trials of marriage and family beset you, her commitment to Christ may wither away because it wasn’t based on belief in Christianity’s truth, but in its utility. If her commitment wanes, think of the difficulties that will occasion when it comes to raising your children as believers! Think of the rift between you!

Now I’m not saying that her readiness to place her faith in Christ is insincere. Let’s hope that it is sincere. But you need to wait until she has made such a commitment and you see the fruit of the Holy Spirit produced in her life. You need to have an honest talk with her about how really wrong it is to say that one would convert to any religion out of love of another person. You need to wait until you have proof-positive that she has fallen in love with Christ for his own sake, not for yours, and wants her whole life to be lived in obedience to him as Lord.

See that she gets involved in a church and is baptized, takes part in a discipleship group with other young women, and is having a meaningful personal devotional life. You should be able to tell from what she shares with you about what the Lord is teaching her and how He is working in her life whether her commitment is authentic.

The difficulty, Shane, is that meanwhile you are in danger of getting inextricably bound up emotionally with her, so that your love of her will seduce you to do something that your mind tells you not to do. So you need to create some emotional space between you and her while you wait to see if her commitment to Christ is genuine. Let’s hope and pray that it is and that you are God’s will for each other.

- William Lane Craig