Thursday, 14 July 2016

Three Criteria for Marriage

In one of my missions overseas, I had to deal with how marriage is defined. In this particular church the pastor was allowing couples to shack up all year, then once a year they held a mass wedding ceremony at the church for all the couples. By that time some of the women were already greatly with child. The pastor explained that getting legally married was only one way to get married in their country. The other way was to get married according to local custom, without ever having the marriage registered with the national government. Fine. But then the pastor started saying he thought a couple's marriage must not have been God's will in the first place if the couple had begun feeling incompatible with each other. Therefore their marriage wasn't really marriage, he felt - and therefore he felt the couple didn't need to stick to their marriage.

Bit grey.

So I suggested to the pastor that marriage is marriage when: 1. A couple who are morally allowed to marry
2. Publicly declare their intention to be married from this moment on 3. In a way that is recognised as marriage by the community to which the couple belongs Otherwise they wouldn't even be able to define fornication!

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