Should the church marry these two?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Debby in Philly, Jun 8, 2004.

  1. Debby in Philly

    Debby in Philly
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    I work with kids in my church, and I'm also a deaconess. A couple from the community has just begun to come, and bring their four children. The kids are a joy to work with, and the couple are very pleasant folk. They seem to like our church and our new pastor. Here's the question: The man is divorced, and the two older children are his and his ex-wife's. The two younger children are theirs together and they are not married, I just found out on Sunday. She spoke to me about the two of them wanting to get married, in a simple manner, perhaps as part of the church service, and then provide cake and coffee afterwards. I of course, referred them to the pastor, but commented that the idea of the ceremony would be interesting of itself, not wanting to begin an exchange while they were picking up the kids from my classroom.

    I cannot speak for their salvation, or if saved, when in the sequence of events it occured.

    What would be your opinions (especially pastors) about conducting the ceremony at all, and/or in such a context? I don't think it's my place to quiz the pastor just yet on it until he speaks with them, and brings it up at a deacon's meeting.
     
  2. Greg Linscott

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    Not enough info. I personally wouldn't perform the ceremony if the parties weren't saved, although I would strive to get them to that point. If they were saved, I would attempt to find out through counseling if they recognized the error of living in their current arrangement. From there, we would have to get much more specific before I could determine my answer.
     
  3. Dr. Bob

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    Helping people DO RIGHT (involving repentance for sin and proper legal steps in getting married) is one of the most wonderful things I do as a minister.

    However, I counsel to get married (after the repentance part which obviously is working on them now) PRIVATELY, not with more than just immediate family. And would not make it a "service".

    I do 30-50 weddings a year (yes, that entails a WHOLE LOT of counseling!!) and would not perform one in a church setting for a couple as your limited description shares.
     
  4. Bro Tony

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    With the condition of the morals in our society, what you have describe is all to familiar. I have dealt with this many times over the years and my response would be exactly the same as Dr. Bob's. You can make a great difference in their future as you take this opportunity to speak truth in love into their lives.

    Bro Tony
     
  5. Link

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    There are problems with the idea that a preacher can marry people 'before GOd' and not before the state. The Bible doesn't teach that a preacher had anything to do with making people married. In the west, the preacher says 'What God has joined together, let not man put assunder." Because wedding liturgy says this, a lot of preachers think their performing the marriage makes two people one flesh. Bu Paul, in I Corinthians 6, clearly associates becoming one flesh with the the couple having relations, as if there were any doubt. Paul uses this as an argument against joining oneself with a prostitute.

    In the Bible, virgins got married when their fathers gave them away to young men. The young man payed a bride price and was then engaged. When he paid the price, the father agreed, and that was a covenant. (A lot of people talk about a marriage covenant being the vows made in public. The idea of wedding vows evolved from Roman culture. In the Bible, the covenant was made through the bride price , rather than through wedding vows between the couple.) After a certain amount of time, the groom would come to collct his bride. After a while it became a custom for men to throw a feast when they married (or for their parents to pay for it.) There is nothing in scripture to indicate that it was the Levitical priests job to oversee wedding ceremonies. Modern Jews may have 'rabbis' perform ceremonies, but they are influenced by the culture in which they live.

    In Ruth's marriage to Boaz, some of the elders of the city were present. But the text indicates that they were there as _witnesses._ The Torah required that the elders of the city be involved when a man passed up on the responsibility to marry his near relative who died without descendant's late wife. So elders may not have been required at a wedding ceremony. There is no indication that they officiated.

    Our modern wedding ceremonies, with the preacher officiating, serve the social function of causing marriages to be publically recognized. If you explain this to these people- that you don't have any magical power to make people 'married before God' but not before men, maybe that will clear theings up for them. Your function in performing marriages is so that marriages will be socially recognized, as they were with parties and processions in Old Testament times.

    I wouldn't advise being a part of a plan for them to get married and scam an insurance company or pension fund out of money. Even if you follow the 'leave it up to them' approach, you could still be opening the door for them to sin. Maybe the woman can negotiate a one-time settlement with the insurance company, especially if statistics say she has some years left to live. She could explain her situation, and explain that she would want to marry -if- she could get a settlement, but not otherwise.

    Another issue to consider is if they can't have sex to consumate the marriage, why not just date?

    I don't think it is a sin for unmarried people to live together if they don't fornicate. This is a conscience issue. It can look bad to others. In some cultures, it isn't always a bad thing. For example, I live in the house with my wife and two of her sisters. If something were to happen to my wife, in some cultures, it would be okay for me to keep my two sister-in-laws here. If my wife had to go out of town for a night or two, and my sisters-in-law were still in my house,I don't think anyone here in Indonesia would think evil of it, especially since they would help out with the baby. A lot of these things are cultural rules. We need to respect other people's consciences.

    Btw, if brethren are holy enough to take communion with, aren't they holy enough to recieve ministry from? All the members of the body of Christ are to use their gifts to minister to others. You might want to make sure they have faith in Christ and have been baptized before letting them participate in church ministries.
     
  6. Bro.Bill

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    From what Debbi in Philly is saying this couple wants to make things right.I agree with Dr. Bob.
    Where all this other stuff is comming from I don't know. I'm sure that the pastor of Debbi's church will do this right if he has any training at all.
     
  7. Paul of Eugene

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    It makes no sense to me for the church to stand in the way of a couple who are seeking to take a bad situation (living together without benefit of marraige) and make it better (getting married).

    By all means, let the pastor perform the ceremony!
     
  8. Ben W

    Ben W
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    Agreed, for whatever sin people have been into, children should be raised in a home where the parents are married.
     
  9. Taufgesinnter

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    What on earth are you talking about? Was this supposed to be posted to another thread? Nothing in the original post that started this thread said anything about "marrying before God" versus "before the state," and you were the first one to bring up insurance and pensions or not having sex. I don't know why you introduced all these new subjects.
     
  10. Debby in Philly

    Debby in Philly
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    Anyway, here's what was decided. It turns out that the couple came to the Lord after his divorce, and after the living together and having children together. They are being baptized this Sunday (after having gone through classes and meeting with the deacons for approval). Then, they are being married August 7!!

    II Corinthians 5:17
    "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

    Amen?
     
  11. Psalm145 3

    Psalm145 3
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    The couple should be required by the local church to live seperately before the marriage, even if it is only for a couple weeks. If they refuse to live apart until marriage then they should not be baptized because baptism is the public symbol and testimony of repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. If they are unrepentant in this area, they should not be baptized and received into membership of the local church.

    True repentance results in a change of life.

    1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
     
  12. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    Good post Psalm! I agree 100%.

    If they are not willng to live apart until their marriage, then I would question their repentence and salvation.

    Getting baptized while they are living in sin is a travesty. They will go in dry sinners and come up wet sinners...

    I don't know of any Baptist preacher, worth his salt, that would baptize people living in open sin.

    Maybe they should move their marriage up???
     
  13. StefanM

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    If the church insists they live apart, then the church should provide the lodging.

    Living under the same roof isn't necessarily "open sin." If they are abstaining from sex, then I don't see the sin.

    We also must consider the children. Forcing them to live apart might cause an unnecessary strain on the family.

    Additionally, we must be sure to tread lightly, lest we add to the gospel of Christ.

    The couple obviously wants to do the right thing--marriage. This, in my opinion, is a demonstration of repentance.
     
  14. rufus

    rufus
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    Sounds like a wonderful opportunity, given by God, to do something really good for people wanting to do good. [​IMG]
     
  15. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    We had this situation in our church a few years ago.

    The couple had gotten saved and wanted to be baptized and married.

    The baptism AND marriage was set for the following week.

    The woman and her children stayed with her mother for those few days in between...
     
  16. Debby in Philly

    Debby in Philly
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    I don't know if all of that is possible with the kids and all. Maybe he's sleeping on the couch. I'm just glad that they want to set things right.

    I heard their testimonies at the deacons meeting, and they are both very resolute in wanting to do right. And both the pastor who brought them to the Lord and taught them and the pastor who will do the baptism and wedding concur.
     
  17. Bible-boy

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    My best friend in ministry faced this situation recently. Here's what he did...

    He counseled with the couple for several weeks (likely months). He told them that he would not/could not marry them if they continued to live together in sin (thereby demonstrating that they had not repented). By living together in sin he meant that they lived under the same roof and continued to engage in sexual intercourse. Because the couple had children together he allowed them to do an in-house separation. The man had to agree to sleep on the sofa in the family room while the woman slept in the bed in the bedroom. Additionally, both had to agree not to engage in sexual relations until after their wedding.
     
  18. blackbird

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    No, I wouldn't marry them! It'll have to be more than "well, lets let the dude sleep on the couch" thing and "well, if he moves out, what about the kids and their emotions" junk----I can promise you---if the dude would pack his suitcase---and pack his kids suitcase and go live with his momma or his sister or if they aren't nearby---go get a hotel----God will honor THAT decision and will flood understanding upon his kids---that still small voice inside of them that'll believe "Daddy's doing the right thing!

    Tell him to pack his suitcase, Debbie---and get out until the wedding!----see, because----it really doesn't matter if it "looks right to everybody else in Indonesia"---or---"Well, the preacher said its ok for him to sleep on the couch(Yeah, right!!!!He's really gonna do that for the preacher!!!)----it matters what the word from the Word says---what does the truth say---not what do the folks in Indonesia think or what the preacher thinks!!!

    I guarantee---you show him what the word from the Word says----and if he's saved---he'll be packing so fast and he'd be marching out of that house so fast----that if he's "waitin' on you---you're backin' up!"

    Blackbird
     
  19. Debby in Philly

    Debby in Philly
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    Are you paying for the hotel? Ours is a lower middle class / lower class urban neighborhood. Plus the dad has two daughters from his first wife who live with their mother, and he has arrangements, I am sure, with the court. Is all of that upheaval necessary for a week?
     
  20. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    If they are truly repentent---yes it is!

    Could the church put him up at the parsonage or could one of the church families take him in for a week?

    A little upheaval for a week pales in comparison to eternity...
     

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