Marriage and the family are under attack from hedonists, homosexuals, and humanists as well as the courts; however, they have attacked an institution of God. Silly people! In Luke 30:20 Jesus said, “And Jesus answering said unto them, the children of this world marry, and are given in marriage.”
Furthermore, He was a guest at the marriage in Cana thereby giving His approval on the proceedings.
The ancient Jews thought that there were three major events in life: birth, marriage, and death with marriage being the most important. They felt very strongly about marriage as revealed in the Talmud: “Any Jew who has not a wife is no man.” In fact, marriage was required by the Jews who believed an unmarried man a murderer! Wow, that’s strong!
In the early Roman Empire before the birth of Christ, marriage was a duty of all Roman aristocrats. In Sparta, a fine was imposed on bachelorhood, late marriage, and single life! According to the laws of Lycurgus, unmarried persons were prohibited from attending the public games and Plato declared all bachelors were unworthy of any honor. The Greeks obviously wanted families even while they tolerated and even glorified perversion!
The background of marriage is varied and interesting. As a substitution for God’s plan of marriage, men have made all kinds of living and sexual arrangements. They are polygamy (one man with multiple wives), polyandry (one woman with multiple husbands), polyamory (multiple and simultaneous sexual relationships), promiscuity (jumping from bed to bed like a deranged rabbit), and perversion (same-sex or sex with anything from a goat to a rocking chair). That covers most of them. Pedophilia is being touted as acceptable sexual behavior and soon it will even be “brave,” “courageous,” and “bold” to advocate such depravity.
Promiscuity has always been practiced, yet not as a normal, common, and acceptable practice except by a few small tribes. In those few instances, males and females lived “promiscuously” with whomever they desired. Members of the Oneida community in New York, for example, practiced “complex marriage,” in which all members of the community were married to all others, and sexual contact was regulated by the group.
Some would suggest that general promiscuity is very similar to the animal kingdom. I agree. It’s called, “pigpen morality.” Hollywood also comes to mind as an obvious example of barnyard living arrangements.
In Old Testament times, the parents chose the mate for their son primarily because the bride became part of the clan. Although the new couple became “one flesh,” they both remained under the authority of the bridegroom’s father. The Illustrated Bible Dictionary declares, “The parents chose someone who would best fit into their clan and work harmoniously with her mother-in-law and sisters-in-law.”
“Love” was seldom an issue in those days. The girl had little or nothing to say about the matter although Rebekah was a biblical exception. They did not marry the one they loved, but learned to love the one they married. Love did not hold the family together. Commitment did, with the encouragement of local, family, and religious connections. Most young people today can’t even spell commitment and they got that from their parents.
The Old Testament is the most authoritative and ancient source so it is a good beginning for a study of marriage, family, and the home. Ancient Jews were to marry only other Jews and any deviation was considered a terrible sin against God. God seemed to be concerned that any marriage, other than between two Jews, would corrupt His people. (They were corrupt enough without the influence of pagans. Solomon is a good example of pagan corruption.) The Apostle Paul emphasized that Christians in Corinth should not marry unbelievers (II Cor. 6:14). That command holds today for modern Christians.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia reveals that the Old Testament has no mention of a formal exchange of vows or of a preacher, prophet, or priest being present at weddings since it was a family affair: “There was no formal religious ceremony connected with the Hebrew marriage as with us–there is not a hint of such a thing in the Bible.” In Gen. 2:24, Adam is seen cleaving unto his wife, the first time “wife” is used in the Bible. No ceremony, no preacher, no license, no church and no state involvement, so I am on solid ground in refusing any state involvement in marriage since marriage was established before any government.
At weddings, the couple would have a meal with family and friends, then the man took the woman into his home before witnesses and they were considered married. This was always with the permission of the father of the girl showing he approved of the groom. The couple became a family.
According to the Code of Hammurabi (about 1800 BC) in ancient Babylon (Iraq), marriage was a contract between a man and woman and marriages were arranged by relatives.
During the Roman Empire, there were wealthy citizens who wanted to list their property when they entered a marriage so there could be no misunderstanding by anyone as to the status of the man and his heirs. This was the beginning of officially recording marriages similar to what we do today. A Roman male could terminate a marriage any time, but a wife who wanted to end a marriage had to grin and bear it. Many unhappy wives in the Empire did little grinning but they did a lot of groaning.
This Roman custom was the first step on a very slippery slope of government control of marriages and a take-over of homes; and it is past time for Christian churches to take back control of the formation of their families.
There is no legislation or court decision necessary. Pastors should simply stop using a marriage license and use a written covenant instead. Everything else would remain the same. No notice or permission is necessary from any official. If a couple wants to record the ceremony at their county courthouse that is their prerogative and I think should be done. It would simply be informing the state after the fact.
Since government fouls up everything and has no scriptural support for regulating weddings, government should have nothing to do with modern marriages. Get the state out of all Christian marriages! Frankly, I can build a good case for churches to get out of the wedding business since there is not one command for preachers to perform weddings. However, a church can choose to have what ministries their members want whether it is Sunday school, youth services, camps, rallies, or weddings. There is no scriptural command for any of those ministries but that doesn’t mean they are wrong.
(Second of nine columns dealing with no state involvement in marriage. Next column: “Stable Homes Produce a Stable State!”)
http://bit.ly/1iMLVfY Watch these 8 minute videos of my lecture at the University of North Dakota: “A Christian Challenges New Atheists to Put Up or Shut Up!”
Fact, Fraud or Faith?
by Don Boys, Ph.D.
Only an uninformed fanatic says that evolution or creation can be proved scientifically. Christians believe in creationism because we believe in the veracity of the Bible but we also have scientific evidence to support our position. In every debate I’ve had with evolutionary scientists, the arrogant, asinine accusation is made, “Well, evolution is scientific while creationism is religion.” Evolution is about as scientific as a voodoo rooster plucking ceremony in Haiti. Almost.