Some critics tell us that to reject the state’s involvement in marriage is disengaging from the culture; however, to do so is obedience to Scripture in that we become salt and light. Most Christians are sugar and provide a feeble, flickering, faltering light. The church is supposed to impact the culture; however, in recent years, we have been driven by the culture. In the past the church has moved the culture but in recent years the church is merging with the culture. The Bible clearly commands us to eschew the world (culture, beliefs, and principles) and adopt a biblical worldview. However, that does not require hermit-hood.
In the fourth century, fearful of the world’s influence and thinking they were obedient to God, some Christians gathered into monasteries never seeing another person outside the cloister for years. Others worked in the fields while still others begged in the towns. They thought that if they tortured themselves it would produce holiness but it only produced pain. They totally withdrew from the world (culture) and that was wrong. We are to engage the culture without it changing us.
We must understand that there is no efficacy in punishing oneself, wearing ragged or squalid clothing, having a dirty face, body odor, unbrushed teeth, offensive personal habits, or living in filth and defilement. Such things drive people away from Christ rather than to Him. Some people are impressed by those weirdoes who fled society and lived in the desert, refused to marry, slept on the floor or hard bunks, ate turnip soup and hard bread and beat themselves from time to time. We are not impressed! That nonsense is fleeing the world not confronting the world. As often happens, humans have a tendency to go to extremes.
The culture laughs at biblical beliefs and practices as quaint, if not archaic. (Note that these are the people who butcher babies; preach perversion as good and desirable; puncture and print words and images on their bodies; watch debased, despicable, and disgraceful television and movies; think nothing of going to bed with strangers; etc.) They smile when we suggest that the common practice of dating is demeaning, destructive, even devastating to youth. They laugh out loud when we recommend that a young man actually court a young lady after requesting permission from the parents! Dating has proved a failure; courtship works.
A young man shows interest in a young lady. He is impressed with her character, charm, courtesy, but mainly her commitment to Christ. She would be an ideal lifetime spouse so he approaches her father for permission to court her. (That raucous laughter you hear from sea to shining sea is a reaction but not a rebuttal. There is a difference.)
With the fathers’ permission, the courting starts and may last many months until the couple and the parents agree that the match is well-made and meets the Bible’s qualifications. The dates will be supervised by a parent or sibling! (as eyes roll across the fruited plain.) A wedding date is set a couple months in the future after consulting with their pastor.
Arrangements are made for a series of counseling sessions to take place between the couple and the pastor and his wife. During those sessions, the couple is taught the basic facts about marriage. She is to be a chaste, gracious, thoughtful, obedient wife and he is to love, cherish and honor her. He is to provide for her and any future children and they will rear those children according to their agreed on rules. She will keep a clean, orderly home that he will be thrilled to return to each day.
The couple will discuss various aspects of marriage such as having children; how they are to be taught and disciplined; whether or not she will work outside the home; etc. They will agree that during disagreements, they will use the Bible as their guide Book. If there are differences that cannot be settled between them, they will seek Christian counselling. In the event of unfaithfulness they will not seek a divorce but will continue Christian counselling. If there is no possibility of reconciliation, they will wait six months before getting a divorce.
After the couple agrees on the basics of the understanding, they will choose their attendants, wedding attire, caterer, flower shop, etc. At the big day, the preacher will do the normal ceremony but at the end he will not say the wedding was done by the power of the state but by the authority of the family and maybe the local church officials. The happy couple will drive to the county courthouse and record the fact of their wedding, leave for their honeymoon, and return home to “set up housekeeping.” The wife will change her last name to that of her husband and inform everyone that she is his wife.
They will keep the wedding covenant as proof of their marriage, plus record it in the family Bible. Changes should be made on all insurance policies, wills, trusts, post office box, safety deposit box, and utilities. Everyone must know that the wedding has taken place.
There is a new family in town, joined by God not the state!
(Ninth of nine columns dealing with no state involvement in marriage.)
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.