Marriage Problem

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by steveo, Jun 3, 2004.

  1. steveo

    steveo
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    We have a senior couple that started visiting our church that I went to visit and they lived together. They told me they never have sexual relations because of physical problems and age and they live in seperate rooms. They asked if I would marry them in God's eyes but not the states since she would lose $1000 month. I told them that the bible says that that the two shall become one flesh and we should obey our government but that I would pray about it.
    I also told them they couldn't become members until we work this out. She wants to sing in the choir and he wants to help with some things.
    Some are complaining about letting them sing and serve. Should we let them as long as it is not a leadership position? Someone also said he curses outside the church and I noticed he said a word or two when I met him before he came to the church. I know the Bible says let everything that has breath praise the Lord but it also says to judge the inside and that God hates the songs of the disobedient. Any advice? This is my first pastorate and I have never had anything like this before!
     
  2. Greg Linscott

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    As another young pastor, I would say...

    - No membership
    - No ministry
    - No marriage

    They want the benefits but not the costs. Exceptions like this, in my estimation, cheapen the meaning of marriage. Marriage is more than sex, more than a business partnership, and more than being roommates.

    I would also recommend that membership be required for participation in ministries like choir. While I am running into my own roadblocks on this issue (my predecessor did not hold this standard), I believe it is the only way we as local churches can assure the proper degree of accountability and responsibility in service to the Lord.
     
  3. Bro Tony

    Bro Tony
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    I agree with Greg. I have been a pastor for nearly 20 years in three different churches. I have dealt with these kind of issues several times. If you compromise it will be worse in the long run. There are young Christians in your church, what does this teach them. Lead with integrity, ie. just do what is biblically right. God never punishes His children for doing right.

    God bless both of you as you have answered His call. Preach the Word and love the people.

    Bro Tony
     
  4. Dr. Bob

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    Sad that the tax laws penalize honest people. I would marry them and let THEM opt to notify Social Security (or not).

    YOU do right. Allow them the freedom then to live as their own conscience dictates. You can't live their life for them.
     
  5. Greg Linscott

    Greg Linscott
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    Do you think it's taxes that would cause her to lose 1000 a month? I was thinking it was something else, like losing her deceased husband's pension benefits because she was now someone else's wife.

    Still, I have trouble with the cohabitation issue. If this were a younger couple enjoying a sexual relationship (an obvious biblical element of marriage) without the legitimate formal covenant, I doubt we would have this conversation (on this board, anyway). Why, because they are older and not driven by their hormones, it is somehow permissable to endorse their enjoying of another obvious biblical element of marriage (companionship) without a formalization of the relationship.

    If it is a tax law thing, that still shouldn't change the fact that our testimony and integrity reflect on our Savior. To conciously take part in subverting a legitimate governmental process (after all, they have communicated their intent) mars your personal testimony and the reputation of the church, and contributes to an already weak view of marriage in the eyes of younger people.
     
  6. steveo

    steveo
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    She would lose her pension.
    I do agree we should expect the same thing for them as a young couple. When I came to the church they always let anybody sing in the choir because we were small. Maybe I need to make a stand and say you have to be a member to sing in the choir.
    One problem though is we always let the kids sing and they are not members.
     
  7. steveo

    steveo
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    By the way, thanks for the replys.
    I don't think they intend to marry but still want to sing in the choir etc...
     
  8. Karen

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    All well put. Culturally, we often are strangely sympathetic to older people in these kinds of situations when we are less than sympathetic to younger people in these kinds of situations. Having been a tax preparer, I can tell you that many younger people face this kind of stuff. Many single mothers hesitate to marry because of losing the earned income tax credit.
    Both age groups should be encouraged to uphold the sanctity of marriage and not just live together when it is more financially advantageous.
    Life has choices.

    Karen
     
  9. Trotter

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    Sounds like she has to make a choice. Is he worth $1000 a month? Should he just move out?

    Sin is sin. Cohabitation without sex is still wrong. As was said above, they are enjoying the priveledges of matrimony (sans sex), but are not willing to make the commitment, and in this case sacrifice, to it.

    Sounds like a case for discipline. But, since they are not members...guess you'd have to show them the door.

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  10. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Why is cohabitation without sex wrong? The Bible never condemns two people sharing the same house. In fact, young people do it all the time with members of the same sex and they are allowed to be church members. IT seems to me maybe we need to rethink this one.

    What exactly are they doing wrong, and what Scripture is the basis for your condemnation?
     
  11. TWade

    TWade
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    So let 'em sing. Like Larry said, what's the Scriptural basis for not allowing them to participate?
     
  12. Trotter

    Trotter
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    Is marriage only about sex? If it is, it ain't marriage.

    Two people enjoying the benefits of marriage without being married is wrong. Not getting married because she would lose her pension shows that they only want to be married so it would "look proper", not because it is what they should have done. By asking to be married "before God" but not the state they are asking that the minister actively participate in their deception of the issuer of her pension. By being in the congregation, and taking active parts in it, while living together out of wedlock, these two are making a mockery of the institution of marrige, not to mention setting an extremely poor example for those who are not yet married.

    How many do you want?

    Scripture? I'm sure there are some for a couple of these that I have mentioned. But there are also circumstances that arise that the bible is silent about, or at best vague. Living together, but not engaging in sexual relations would be one of those times.

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  13. TWade

    TWade
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    Who says? You? You'll have to do better than that. No offense. [​IMG]

    That is, you're saying it's wrong.
     
  14. TWade

    TWade
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    [​IMG] Edited because I re-read the OP.
     
  15. Pastor Larry

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    What, other than sex, is restricted to marriage?

    The example is the only legitimate issue you have mentioned so far, IMO. I simply fail to see that Scripture prohibits anything you have said.

    Scripture is silent about living together without sexual relations. People do it all the time. But again, where does the Bible forbid this?

    I am really curious. I have thought about this before. Most couples couldn't live together with being intimate with one another. But it sounds to me like you have a classic situation of roommates ... And the Bible doesn't forbid that.
     
  16. gb93433

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    Is profanity any different than overeating? Lots of people today are obese. Sin is sin. But sometimes we judge one sin more evil than another.

    Regarding their lifestyle: I would wonder how they would respond to avoiding the appearance of evil.

    1 Thess. 5:22, "Abstain from all appearance of evil."

    In the church I attend there is a couple that will get married in July. Her husband died about six years ago. She told me that she will lose all of her former husband's retirement when she marries. He retired from the US military.

    I take the position that there is a huge difference between singing in the choir and leading. I have seen a number of people who started coming to church and then sang in the choir who later became Christians. What a way for them to her praises to God embedded in their mind. If the songs are evangelistic they are learning the gospel.

    Any children sing in your children's choir who are not Christians?
     
  17. Pastor Larry

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    True ... I agree with you. But this has not yet been demonstrated to be sin.

    I would start with a lesson on 1 Thess 5:22, explaining that this is not a command about what something looks like, but rather what it is. The KJV has an unfortunate translation that is often misunderstood. Paul was not commanding people to avoid anything that might look like evil. He was commanding people to avoid things that are evil.

    Again, I am simply asking what biblical command they are disobeying here ....
     
  18. gb93433

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    I would disagree with you on the basis of a few things. The word used for form or appearance is a word used to mean visible form, outward appearance. A.T. Robertson writes in WPNT, "Abstain from every form of evil (apo pantos eidous ponêrou apechesthe). Present middle
    (direct) imperative of ap-echô (contrast with kat-echô) and preposition apo repeated with ablative as in 1Th 4:3

    Note use of ponêrou here for evil without the article, common enough idiom. Eidos (from eidon)
    naturally means look or appearance as in Lu 3:23; 9:29; Joh 5:37; 2Co 5:7

    But, if so taken, it is not semblance as opposed to reality (Milligan). The papyri give several
    examples of eidos in the sense of class or kind and that idea suits best here. Evil had a way of
    showing itself even in the spiritual gifts including prophecy."

    Another is on the basis of history. In the early church a pastor never dealt with a woman in the congregation. She was dealt with by another woman. I see the early church as keeping those lines clearly drawn. We do not today. We have muddied the waters. Consequently we have men and women who have fallen yielding to temptation.

    We are to never cause another another to stumble. It may be alright for me to do something, but I must not if it causes another to stumble.

    In the end, I ask not what is wrong with it, but what is right about it. If I take a look at the situation I see nothing right about it. If money were the real issue

    If they want to get married clearly they are in love at least to some degree. Is this not a case of cohabitation? Just in my lifetime people were arrested for cohabitation. It was illegal and now we call it living together.

    I wonder what those who work at the courthouse would think if they knew a pastor married them and they do not have the legal documentation to prove it. What kind of a testimony is that to the city workers. They want the benefits of being married but not the sacrifices. Why should a man marry a woman if they are not able to provide for themselves. Even Dr. Laura Schlessinger (a Jew, a non-believer) would not support a man and woman living together before marriage. She calls is “shacking up.” And we don’t?
     
  19. steveo

    steveo
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    As far as scripture to back up not shacking up together lets go back to Genesis 2:24 "Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and sahll cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh"
     
  20. Pastor Larry

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    The word for appearance is never used for mere appearance without reality. It is always the appearance of somethign actual. Your principle is a good one. Your verse to support it is misused.

    To call this "cohabitation" is true, in the sense that roommates cohabit. When I was in college, I cohabited with some guys. It was not illegal and no one said we should be married. We lived in teh same place, shared facilities, ate meals together, talked to one another, slept in different beds ... in other words, we did exactly what this couple is reportedly doing. Are you prepared to condemn my college roommates since they are doing the same thing?

    When Dr. Laura, or I, talk about "shacking up," it is the immorality that is a problem. That would be sin. If this couple is involved in intimate relations, then they are sinning. There is no question about that. If this couple is living under a common roof and sharing meals and expenses, I am not aware of any verse that forbids that. Perhaps you are ...

    Gen 2:24 does not forbid what this couple appears to be doing. Again, get back to Scripture. What are they doing that is in violation of Scripture?
     

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