Another Question... please help!


#1

Thank you all for your answers! But I have one more question.

Clearly, we are not to avoid unbelievers. St. Paul even comes outright and states that we are allowed to associate with the sinners of the world. But we are not to have fellowship with them… What does that mean? The dictionary definition of “fellowship” is “friendly association,” but clearly it’s not wrong to associate with unbelievers, and I assume that it’s not wrong to be friendly to them!


#2

Personally I don’t think it’s wrong as long as you are strong in your faith and can maintain your integrity. The danger is that rather than they learning to be like you you learn to be like them. People, even nice people, can inadvertently lead you astray but they can also help you to learn about your own weaknesses and perhaps enlighten you in this regard.

People tend to ‘mirror’ others and that’s probably where the danger lies.


#3

Verse 14

Bear not the yoke together with unbelievers. He does not mean, that they must wholly avoid their company, which could not be done, but not to have too intimate a friendship with them, not to marry with them, to avoid their vices. Be ye separate…touch not the unclean thing. He does not speak of meats, clean and unclean, according to the law of Moses, nor of legal uncleannesses, but what is sinful under the new law of Christ, and would defile the soul, as idolatry, fornication, &c. (Witham)


#4

I might try looking in a bible comentary (particularly the one by Fr. Lapide, which can be found on the Ipieta app for free.) to see what it has to say about it. You also might want to see what some of the Church fathers say about it.


#5

In addition to the verse Nelka posted, the word ‘fellowship’ had a religious connotation in ancient times. Fellowship was a participation in the enacting of the mysteries of a religion or pagan cult. There was, at the time, Christian fellowship, pagan fellowship, Jewish fellowship, and many other types, just as there are today. This is why Catholics (and Orthodox) are called a fellowship of believers because we participate in the mysteries (sacraments) of Christ. To avoid fellowship with Pagans is to also avoid any participation in the mysteries of their foreign religions.


#6

Don’t go carousing with them in sinful activities. Obviously the meeting point between the Christian and the unChristian is the laity who are specifically called to be in the world, as Archbishop Sheen would say, not to be islands unto themselves. Paul said that we should not associate with those who claim to be followers of Christ but are living immorally:

“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.” 1 Cor. 5:9-12

Archbishop Sheen explains exactly what to do: AUDIO


#7

The Greek word used for “fellowship” in this passage is “koinonia.”

Koinonia, as noted above, has pagan religious overtones. It also is used to describe the business relationship of small partnership companies, like Peter’s fishing business.

But the primary Christian meaning is “Communion.” It shows up again in 1 Corinthians 10:16, for example:

“The chalice [poterion] of blessing that we bless, is it not a communion [koinonia] in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a communion [koinonia] in the body of Christ?”

“Metoche”, the word used for “partnership” in the passage, means “someone who shares with you, or who partakes along with you.” It’s another word commonly used in passages about Communion.

Usually, there’s not much difference between traditional Catholic or Orthodox versions of the Bible, and Protestant or modernist versions of the Bible. But when there is a difference, it’s a doozy… and this passage is an example.

Paul is saying that pagans and unbelievers have no business receiving Communion in the Church, until and unless they do believe. Why would you want people who currently participate in pagan sacrifices to the gods, and who eat sacrificial meat in order to commune with their gods, also receiving Jesus’ Body and Blood? Wouldn’t that be saying that Jesus is just the same as the false gods, no better and no worse?

  • “poterion” is the Septuagint translation for Hebrew “kos”. It means a goblet for wine, in most circumstances, but it seems to have been connected with stuff that went on in the Temple. It showed up on Jewish coinage and on the Roman triumphal monument commemmorating the destruction of the Temple and the capture of the sacred vessels. So there’s a reason why older translations often used the more formal “calix,” chalice, and not one of the less formal words for wine drinking vessels.

#8

“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler.

Paul is not talking about unbelievers but about immoral people in the Church


#9

What passage are we looking at? I thought the OP’s passage was 2 Cor. 6:14, the one about:

“Be not yoked unequally with unbelievers.
What sharing does righteousness have with lawlessness?
Or what communion does light have with darkness?”

You are quoting a different passage.

If this is the passage the OP was talking about, it’s worth mentioning that “unequally yoked” is traditionally taken to mean “getting married to an unbeliever.”

It was permitted by Christian freedom and sometimes worked out (Christian and Jewish communities didn’t commit infanticide on girls, so a lot of pagan men fell in love with all those available, living Christian young women; and some converted).

But sometimes it didn’t work out, and it got very messy. In the Roman world, men always had custody of the kids; even if the husband died, it was the husband’s family who got the kids. There’s a reason there were a lot of Christian Roman noblewomen who ended up as vowed Christian widows without any kids in the house; or who only got to keep custody of the girl children that the paternal relatives didn’t want. Whether wives or widows, Roman and Greek women usually had no control of who their kids married, although they could give input.

(Of course, if her family was richer and more influential than his family, it could magically turn out that she got everything she wanted, and the paternal relatives went along with it. But that was an unusual situation.)


#10

You can’t read one passage while ignoring another. Both together teach the same thing. Paul means: Don’t act like the unbeliever; but we are not to become an island apart from the world. Paul talks about NOT associating with those who claim to be believers but live immorally, thus he goes on to say to hand over such people to Satan, so that they indeed convert:

“ hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.” 1 Cor. 5: 5


#11

What St Paul means is to be in the world, but not part of worldliness. To rise above worldly standards and remain faithful to your true destiny, union with God.


#12

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