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Featured Marriage: Authority Granted by God?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by canadyjd, May 15, 2018.

  1. canadyjd

    canadyjd Well-Known Member

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    Will someone please show me in scripture where Pastors are given authority by God to pronounce a couple to be married?
     
  2. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    Scripture? No.

    Marriages in the Bible in the earliest days took place when the couple -- before the community -- entered into their tent/home and consummated the marriage, presenting themselves to the community as a married couple. Eventually grand traditions developed around this declaration to stress the importance of the commitment. Naturally, religious leaders/elders spoke for the community, conferring blessings on the couple.

    In the United States, recognized leaders of religious groups have been allowed to declare marriages on behalf of their respective communities and the state where the wedding is held. Some states and counties are quite lenient and others are more strict. The notability of the person who pronounces the marriage has been trivialized over the past 20 years or so by online ordination mills that dispense certificates without any sort of recognition of leadership/eldership.

    I think it is a good tradition for pastors and other religious leaders to be in a position to counsel a couple starting their journey of marriage together. We don't have to have a scripture for everything we do. For instance, there are no scriptures about pastors presiding over funerals, but unlike the marriage question, I've never heard anyone ask for scriptural evidence for that in more than 50 years of church life.
     
  3. TCassidy

    TCassidy Late-Administator Emeritus
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    Historically marriages were contracts between families.
     
  4. poor-in-spirit

    poor-in-spirit Well-Known Member
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    I think the deeper one looks into this, the worse it gets:

    Not one example or command or instruction for the conduct of a marriage "ceremony" is contained anywhere in the Bible. Most Bible instances of a wedding or a marriage were celebrated with a supper or feast after the man and woman consummated their commitment to each other to be married (the rest of the instances were not celebrated at all). Not some priest's (or whatever's) ritualized oath taking and blessing in a religious ceremony. Their yea was yea in their hearts before God as God intended without "swearing" in front of a priest (or whatever). Study Matthew 5:31-37 (James 5:12 too) carefully, it will shed light.

    Catholicism adopted this wedding ritual into their system of paganism with Bible labels in the third century. Human government stepped in later and made it a legality. No mention of a writing of marriage is contained in Scripture, only writings of divorce. Divorce is sin because it is a breaking of a couple's word to God. A couple's word was good enough to God to be married but a document declaring that they lied to God was needed to divorce.

    Strangely even those groups claiming true faith embrace this pagan ritual as having some meaning to God when the truth is the opposite. God hates it.

    The pastor at your church has no more ability to make your marriage legitimate in God's eyes than a court clerk does. Only the yea be yea in your hearts makes it legitimate to God and never an oath before men or a signed legal document.

    My recommendation is have the court clerk take your "acknowledgement" and sign your paper (because it is the law of the land) and then head on down to the local Applebee's with relatives and whatnot.

    I will end my popularity contest with this: In reality, common-law marriages (if truly committed) are closer to God's intent than ritualistic swearing, oaths or document signing (which violate God's direct commands). No, I am not common law married, just relaying.

    In addition, I am not saying that believers who had ceremonies are any less married to God. Their marriage is as legitimate to God as their commitment in their hearts to each other is (chew on that a while). The point is that document, oath or ritual meant nothing to God and was actually sinful when it occurred.

    The world loves appearances in all aspects of life and the world mocks God in all aspects of life.
     
    #4 poor-in-spirit, May 15, 2018
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
  5. Rob_BW

    Rob_BW Well-Known Member
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    I'm sitting in the car, away from my library, but if memory serves, the Reformation was a major factor in forming modern marriage ceremonies, with the presence of the "right" flavor of pastor becoming important.

    As far as Roman weddings, I thought the major part was the travel of the bride from her father's home to her ne husband's home.
     
  6. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    I've looked into this issue thoughtfully over many years. I haven't found any issue.

    So what? Are there instructions for a funeral ritual in the Bible? I don't think so. That doesn't mean we just toss people into a tomb to avoid an unbiblical ceremony.

    Jesus performed His first miracle at a wedding. There were also rituals in place at the time that were not sanctioned by scripture which Jesus did not rebuke, but cited with approval, such as the friend of the bridegroom standing watch over the bridal chamber while the marriage is consummated (see John 3:29).

    Beyond that reference, the Bible positively references some wedding traditions that were not prescribed anywhere:
    • The bridegroom dressing with a garland and the bride with jewels (Isaiah 61:10)
    • The bridegroom has attendants (Matthew 9:15)
    • The ceremonial arrival of the bridegroom to the feast, with shouts of announcement and greeting by the young women (Matthew 25:6,10)
    I don't follow your reasoning unless you have mangled these verses against taking an oath to God (not heaven, earth, your own head, the throne of God, Jerusalem, or a tall stack of King James bibles.

    Aha! Those darn Catholics! They've ruined marriage.

    Not necessarily. There are all kinds of wedding traditions, including [English] Common Law marriage where you represent yourselves as husband and wife before the community. Much of the legal documenting of marriage is tied to inheritance issues.

    So you are making an argument from silence... The bill of divorce was to protect the woman from a vindictive man who could make charges against her after the fact and attempt to control her using legal means. He had to choose a story and stick with it.

    Your assertion that divorced people have "lied to God" is quite a cavalier and ridiculous judgment. Very few people go into a marriage intending to get divorced. But both men and women can be hardened by sin and harm each other. The bill of divorce was a means for women to potentially move on with their lives.

    I can't follow your train of thought. If you are referring to a marriage ceremony as a pagan ritual, you have not demonstrated (1) that it is a pagan ritual; and (2) that God hates marriage ceremonies.

    If you are referring to a bill of divorce as a pagan ritual, then (1) it is not a pagan ritual, but it was given by Moses in the context of the covenant community; (2) Yes, God hates divorce, but I think he hates the hardness of the human heart that causes divorce worse.

    I agree. But where did you get the idea that a pastor makes a marriage legitimate?

    Both marriage and divorce documents are designed to make clear issues of property, inheritance, and taxation. A married couple is simply informing the government of what has happened in their relationship and how they want to be considered before the law.

    That's certainly your choice, but (1) I would chose a better restaurant than Applebee's; and (2) there's nothing wrong with a formal wedding ceremony as a religious service before a religious figure and the community of faith. Jesus participate in such events and positively referenced them, so I assume that He is okay with people doing it that way.

    I would say that your view of God's intent is quite warped by your pet opinions. Moreover, it does seem that you have misinterpreted scripture regarding oaths. I don't know what kind of wedding you had, but I did not make promises to my wife, my community and to God by invoking heaven, earth, my own head, the throne of God, Jerusalem, or a tall stack of King James bibles.

    Before you claim sin, you need to demonstrate that from scripture. I think you are completely wrong that it is sinful.

    A wedding before a minister is not necessarily about "appearances" and is almost never a mockery of God.
     
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  7. poor-in-spirit

    poor-in-spirit Well-Known Member
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    Well friend, your post seems worded emotionally and sarcastically so without wasted effort, I will try to summarize an explanation but please stop me if you profit financially from these rituals:

    The Scriptural references of weddings you give make no mention of ritualistic "ceremonies" of any type friend. Nor is there ever any instances of oaths being taken before men. Most wedding supper (hint) references in Scripture are incidental or backdrop without a single mention of ritualistic oaths which are in no way ordered, commanded, instructed, encouraged or even mentioned anywhere in Scripture.

    Would this make is reasonable to assume that wedding ceremonies are of men's tradition? Most particularly adopted tradition from pagans?

    Please take another look and take a breath friend, you will see it is true.
     
  8. TCassidy

    TCassidy Late-Administator Emeritus
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    This is the "Baptist Only" section of the Baptist Board.

    One of the Baptist Distinctives is "Soul Liberty" also referred to as the "Priesthood of the Believer."

    Every baptist is free to form his own conclusions and convictions regarding what the bible says on any subject, including the subject of cultural marriage rituals and traditions.
     
  9. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson Administrator
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    I have no problems with what happens in some countries. The couple goes down to the proper government office. They take out and sign the matrimonial documents. And bingo they are considered duly married. Any religious ceremony happens after this. Religious ceremonies in such countries are not binding or legally valid.
    And yes, marriage is viewed in many cultures as a matter of contract law.
     
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  10. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    I do not profit financially. But even if I did, that wouldn't make me wrong and you correct.

    It all depends upon how you define "ritualistic ceremonies." If you are referring to wedding traditions, they certainly do. Moreover, you seen to think that if it does not appear explicitly in the scripture it is sin. Marriage is an extremely important aspect of life and it is appropriate that there be some level of formality and recognition of the couple's dependence upon God as they initiate their commitment. That does not mean that those who complete the paperwork before a government employee only are not married or have displeased God, but for believers in circumstances that readily allow it, it is a good thing to initiate a marriage before the faith community who will be there to support them. It is needlessly legalistic to call that sin.

    I believe you are in error regarding oaths. I recommend studying this issue further. Click on these words to read a fairly comprehensive response to the issue of oaths.

    You make it sound as if human traditions are INHERENTLY evil. They are not.

    A wedding that is based around Christian worship and honoring of God is not pagan anymore.

    Believe it or not, I'm gone down this road at least a half dozen times with various people over the years. In short, (1) not all oaths are evil, despite a couple of misinterpreted texts; and (2) human traditions are not INHERENTLY evil.
     
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  11. canadyjd

    canadyjd Well-Known Member

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    The reason I asked is that the the phrase, "by the authority given to me by God, I pronounce you man and wife..." is usually stated at weddings. That does seem to me to be the pastor pronoucing the marriage to be ligitimate.

    I don't believe pastors should proclaim authority from God, if that authority isn't given in scripture.

    I have no problem with a ceremony, or a pastor asking God to bless a couple.

    As far as a funeral, we are commanded to "comfort one another" during the loss of life with the knowledge of the certainty of the resurrection. (1 Thess.) Certainly that is scriptural authority for a pastor to conduct a funeral.
     
  12. TCassidy

    TCassidy Late-Administator Emeritus
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    That is odd. I have been in the ministry for well over 40 years, and, in that time done hundreds of weddings and I don't recall ever saying "by the authority given to me by God."

    That's probably why we don't.

    It looks to me as if you have invented a straw man and are now vigorously attacking that straw man of your own creation. :)
     
  13. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    To be fair, I have heard that a couple of times, but I'm not sure if they were Baptist weddings.

    When I do weddings, I usually do something along the lines of "In the presence of God and these witnesses, I pronounce you husband and wife."
     
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  14. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson Administrator
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    The authority I usually hear, if any is cited, is the state of XYZ.
     
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  15. TCassidy

    TCassidy Late-Administator Emeritus
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    I used to say, "In full accord with the laws of the State of California . . . "
     
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  16. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    The first marriage was a formal ceremony in which Adam was presented with his bride and Adam proclaimed her to be his wife. Ceremonies vary from culture to culture, but even the most "primitive" cultures have something that tells society two have become married.

    All civil law has its roots in the doctrine of marriage. It is the institution that dictates how individuals properly relate to one another in public and private discourse. Government exists to protect and enforce marriage.
     
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  17. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    I've heard, "By the authority vested in me by God and the State of . . . " in practically every ceremony I've attended.
     
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  18. JonShaff

    JonShaff Fellow Servant
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    I just checked one of my Wedding manuscripts and i have:

    "by the authority vested in me as a minister of the gospel according to the laws of the State of Oklahoma I now pronounce you..."
     
  19. canadyjd

    canadyjd Well-Known Member

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    I guess we all have very different experiences. That said, I don't own any straw and I'm asking, not attacking. Please don't accuse me of being motivated by anything other than what I stated.

    The beginning was simple. If you had relations, you were married in the eyes of God. We have changed that. Now you have to get a license and/or have a preacher pronounce you man and wife. That puts marriage into the realm of man, not God.

    Most, not all, preachers will say relations outside of marriage is sinful, but very few will say those relations result in marriage.

    Paul said if you have relations with a prostitute you become one flesh with with her. Even with no more expectation than a transfer of money.
     
  20. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    I've heard this alot, but it ain't biblical. Sin does not equal marriage.
     
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